There are a number of San Luis Obispo’s homeless who can’t seem to understand how I can get up every morning a go to my "spot" and write a new post. That it’s become a part of my daily routine is something they feel is just a waste of time. In fact, that anyone has a routine seems to them quite boring. These homeless consider themselves "free spirits" – which is fine, if that’s the type of person they want to be.
One thing that I have noticed about these self-styled free spirits is that they’ve been homeless for a long long time – without any true possibility of ever being free of homelessness. They tend to be lazy, undisciplined and have no desire to be held responsible for any of their own actions.
The other thing I’ve noticed about them is that, although they claim to eschew material things, they seem to always be at the head of the line when it comes to getting something for nothing – such as clothing donations, food and the like. Moreover, they are also the ones who always have some type of "get rich quick" scheme up their sleeves. It’s almost like an "I Love Lucy" rerun.
Being a free spirit is fine, but not for me.
I like the idea of having some kind of structure; some kind of routine in my life. I like the idea of knowing what life is going to be like – or at least what I hope it will be like – later today; and better yet, what it will be like tomorrow. I like the idea of having a goal for the future – even if it means that I have to forego certain things right now.
I’ve always known that in most instances it is in my best interest to sacrifice short range pleasures in order to achieve the long range goals. But that takes work. It also takes the willingness to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. And, it means that I have to build whatever structure in my life that it will take in order to achieve those goals.
The hardest part, for me, is remembering that while some goals may be attainable in short order, others require time and patience. For me that’s where routines come in.
Routines allow me to be able to plan out my day with the hope of being able to plan for the future – a future where I am no longer homeless. A future where I can rest at the end of the day with the knowledge that I’ve accomplished something worth accomplishing. It doesn’t have to be a fancy future. I just has to be one that I can have some sense of comfort in.
Being a free spirit is all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day it doesn’t fill my belly. Nor, does it get me any closer to becoming the person I want to be.
Let others be free spirits – if that’s what they truly want. Me? I have to keep to my own routines. I have to keep pressing on. And, I have to keep looking ahead to a time when my routines will have produced a freedom of having a place that I can call home.