My entire life has been a lie.

How’s that for an opener?

I have always thought that I hate schedules and routine. That’s like 95 percent of the reason I went into journalism—other than the whole being AWESOME at crafting my AWESOME vocabulary words, that is. I always balked at set start and finish times and claimed to hate being tied down to a regular schedule. I needed to get up and go to bed at a different time each day to keep from getting bored. I am a butterfly, crushed by the wheel.

Oh, how wrong I was.

I need a schedule.

I actually thrive with a schedule.

Turns out if I don’t have things that need to be done at a specific time, I wander the outfield, picking my nose. For some reason I’m eating meals in front of keyboard and taking naps in my car in the library parking lot a couple times per week. That’s a fine way to live for a while, but pretty soon, DECADES will go by with no sign of real progress. At least I was well-rested, I guess.

Right now I have things in my care that thrive on to-the-minute routine: Dairy cows, goats, potty-training children, cheese and a baby.

My house is full of timers that screech out our rhythm of life.

I have a timer for the cheese-making, a timer for the “Do-you-have-to-potty?” line of questioning. No, seriously. Do you want to try? It won’t hurt to just try—maybe you’ll get a marshmallow!

I have a timer for the bread and a timer for the yogurt/marshmallows/from-scratch experiment. Every 7-15 minutes something is buzzing or beeping and though it sounds like a hellannoying existence, it keeps me moving. It keeps me on task. It keeps me churning out incredible double plays, if we are rolling with this tired baseball metaphor.

Double plays are a thing, right?

Anyway, it turns out for the last 30 years or so, I have needed the structure I always resisted. Otherwise, I waste a LOT of time.

Free spirit, my arse. Rigid, uncompromising structure—the kind where things turn to acidic goo, pee on the floor or set the house on fire if you don’t abide—that’s really the only way to live.

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