Monotony and whimsy may seem to be an odd collision, but I promise you it is possible. For me, having a daily routine really helps keep me grounded. I go to bed at the same time (nearly) every night and wake up at the same time (surprisingly regularly) every morning. My morning routine involves feeding the animals, walking the dog, and reading blogs and web comics before going into work. I will happily eat the same breakfast and lunch every day.
At the same time, I do enjoy a bit of spontaneity. It may not be for everyone, but my adventure tends to come packaged into easily scheduled blocks that can be conveniently shuffled into my routine. Games are probably front and center. Ever since I was in middle school I’ve been into board games, video games, and table top role playing games. Games can provide opportunities to make choices, play through to the outcome, and maybe even rewind and try something different. All this comes in an easily digestible packet.
In high school I also picked up the guitar. I make no claim to being good, but I enjoy playing for me and in the end that’s all that really matters. One of my first teachers was a jazz guitarist, so I have had a non-zero amount of training in improvisation which is most definitely “my thing” if I may claim to have one.
More recently, my wife and I have picked up ballroom dance. This can not only satisfy a longing for whimsy and spontaneity, but is a fantastic activity for couples. I imagine learning any new skill or craft together will help people grow together, but especially something that requires the connection and cooperation of ballroom dance rivals anything else I’ve ever personally tried.
It may sound like a lot, especially when you’re living the graduate student life. But for me, having a routine that I stick to pretty closely from week to week makes all these activities about as easy to enjoy as scheduling an hour or two to watch a favorite television program or sporting event. Despite popular perceptions of table top gaming in particular, it’s not a burdensome time commitment if one just makes it part of a routine.