Posted at 02/21/2014 1:45 PM

I have said countless times that I am tone deaf. I may have the beat, though, because I enjoy dancing. But more than the beat of music, I think I understand the “rhythm of life”.

Like most young people, I regarded customs, routines, tradition and norms as constraints. As I grew older though, I came to realize that order was important.

Order, to a certain extent, guaranteed many of things we enjoy. It is difficult enough to rely on something that happens only on occasion, let alone those that happen at random!

Taking the cue from nature

Now that I’m so much older, I take my cue from nature: day follows night follows day, one must first be born before he dies, the seasons come one after the other—four in some places, two in others. I realized that these natural cycles are not only inescapable, they actually put order in our lives.

Putting order entails labeling—classifying, actually—something like “a place for everything and everything in its place. This happens, not only in our homes but in our lives as well. When we classify the people in our lives, we often put them in general categories like “family” or “friends” then there are acquaintances and so on. The secrets we share and how much of our real selves we reveal indicates the closeness of our relationship to them. Though “order” is not clear, there is a system that most of us understand and actually use.

Categories, Classifications, Jet Lag and the Circadian Rhythm

Consider the game Pinoy Henyo— the game is won by skillfully categorizing clues. We have the natural tendency to put everything we experience in boxes that social norms have constructed for us.

Even our bodies conform with our surroundings. When we travel long distances, we get jet lag. Jet lag is also known as time zone change syndrome or desynchronosis. Jet lag can occur when people travel rapidly from east to west, or west to east on a jet plane. It is a physiological condition which upsets our body's circadian rhythms - hence, it is classified as a circadian rhythm disorder. Jet lag symptoms tend to be more severe when the person travels from westward compared to eastward.(http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/165339.php)

And what is circadian rhythm? This is the 24-hour cycle in the biochemical, physiological and behavioral process of our bodies. In layman's terms, it means our body clock… Put simply, our circadian rhythm regulates our daily activities, such as sleep, waking, eating and body temperature regulation. (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/165339.php)

A natural order

There is a “natural order” in our lives in much the same way that tides follow a cycle, or how the weather can be predictably unpredictable, the way the scales of a crocodile are arranged and the pattern of veins on a leaf, Though there are deviations here and there, the general trend remains the same. Sometimes, though, we refuse to accept what we see and experience just because no category has been made for it yet.

These deviations—variations, if you will, spice up the routine called life. It is the syncopated beat that makes each life unique. To me, the greatest thing about routines, order and predictability is that it allows us to go back to the rhythms within us, the same rhythm that our loved ones know, the one that allows us all to go back to what we call home.