Why do we do the things we do?
For me, it’s a continual mystery.
I often find myself in a routine of normality, trying my best to figure out how to keep things the same. When the world around me is shifting, I crave the familiar.
During the pandemic, to my own surprise, I developed new routines that would not have made any sense a few years ago. Watching entire seasons of shows on Netflix is not normal for me, but now it is. I would have never used Uber Eats in a million years, now it’s second nature for me. I’m still prone to go for a drive for no reason than to simply go somewhere. It helps that my neighbor sold me his BMW for a song.
As humans, we tend to gravitate to whatever causes the least amount of stress. Change is stressful, so most of us cling to what is repeatable and known. Even if the decision doesn’t really make sense we might follow a certain course only because it seems more predictable.
One curious routine that is almost inexplicable to me is that I’m known to post my Wordle score on Facebook each day. I have a few friends who like my posts, but honestly it’s now just part of a process I’m following to make the events of the day seem less chaotic. Each morning, after journaling and studying for a while, I’ll do the Wordle puzzle and post the results.
If you follow this column, you know I’m not always enamored by Facebook. The company is not known for their charitable approach. They make money from ads when we click on stuff. There is some value in the social connections we have, but mindlessly scrolling through the photographic record of people who we don’t even know and will never meet is not exactly a higher calling.
And yet, I’m still posting my Wordle.
I’m not sure my closest relatives and immediate family members care about my score. I don’t even care about my score. It’s a way to fend off the vagaries of inconsistency. What is predictable is also repeatable. When something is repeatable, we feel like we can control it, or at least learn from it, grow and mature, and maybe even improve. I view this “productivity engine” as so important, I even wrote a book about it.
I believe Wordle is intended for people like me who prefer to cling to repeatable activities in an attempt to move forward in life. We are looking for relief from not changing too fast, at least with one small activity each day. Slow change leads to progress, whereas fast change just makes us confused.
Another surprise? While I am embracing the daily routines of life like posting my Wordle score, I’m also surprised how much I’m willing to try new things. Lately, it’s bubble tea and sushi, tomorrow it might be skydiving and playing video games again. I know one thing: Life needs a foundation, somewhere to plant our feet and stake out our claim.
The course ahead might have twists and turns, but at least when I look around at my immediate surroundings, I see my Facebook feed and a puzzle game that never changes. I like things that way.