By Molly Butler

There’s a group on Facebook, the 5 A.M. Club.

They have 24K members who keep each other accountable to one goal: starting each day at 5 a.m. People swear by this practice. People say it has changed their life. It’s almost enough to convince you. Maybe if I started every day at 5 a.m., I would finally be complete.

It was important to me that I got my 10,000 steps in every day. I had a goal: 10,000 steps for 100 days. Walking, running, or just moving around the house. I didn’t miss a single day, and I did it. Day 100 arrived, and I achieved my goal. Yay! Then, day 101 came. I didn’t get those steps. I’ve done the same with yoga. With water. With green smoothies. 30-day challenges. These practices would become my normal. My routine. I’d hit my target. Then I’d stop.

There is a unique lesson you can only learn from releasing your routines. I didn’t realize how grounding and relaxing those 10,000 steps were until my days were becoming chaotic, and I needed something simple, obtainable and familiar to return to. I didn’t realize how beneficial my yoga practice had been until I got back on the mat and felt a very unfamiliar buildup of tension in my body. Ah, so this is what I’d gained. You know, when you’re in it, it’s so hard to see.

Dive in. Dedicate a little piece of yourself to a routine. Be hopeful. Be curious. Be a little skeptical.

Maybe you can find it in the gym or the grocery store. Maybe it’s a number of books to read in a year, or a set wake up, a set bedtime, a vitamin, or heck, maybe it’s one of those shiny new Super Foods they keep unveiling. Maybe that’ll solve us. Dive in. Dedicate a little piece of yourself to a routine. Be hopeful. Be curious. Be a little skeptical.

The 5 A.M. Club, the 10,000 steps, the “secrets” to a happy, healthy life. When someone preaches a prescription, it gives me the same pause as fad diets and beauty hacks and all the crap that eventually migrates from the As Seen On TV section to the clearance shelf to the garbage bin. I don’t think what we’re looking for is supposed to work instantly. It won’t work perfectly. And even if we find something that works, it’s not going to work perpetually.

The benefits don’t just come from the routine itself. What works for one won’t for all (and, in fact, buying into a blanket routine that seems to do miracles for everyone else but doesn’t work for you, well, that can be all the more disheartening). The routine itself is not the point. The routine is a tool. When things are starting to overwhelm me, or I need a reset, I can pick a tool from my toolbox. Today, I’m getting my steps in. This week, I’m drinking 100oz of water every day. I’m going to get on the yoga mat. Every. Single. Day…for a while.

Maybe you’ve found what works. Maybe you have your routine, and you are stickin’ to it, for years, decades, your whole life. Maybe your routine is never having a routine at all. Trying on different routines like hats in the costume bin? That’s my routine. For now.

Have a great weekend.

Friday

Volunteer with the good folks at the Minneopa State Park! Help cut buckthorn, remove invasive species, collect native prairie seed and have fun doing it! Email scott.kudelka@state.mn.us to register.

Catch live music around town. Tex-Mex and Conjunto group, Los Rebeldes, will be at the Grand Kabaret in New Ulm from 6-8 p.m. They’ve been performing their unique music since the 1980s. Don’t miss this incredibly danceable performance! Chris Bertrand will be at the Coffee Hag from 5-7 p.m. Tiger Ries will be at the Indian Island Winery from 6-8:30 p.m., performing rock, country and a little bit of Elvis. Tony Sammis continues the Un-Wine-D series at Chankaska Creek beginning at 6:30 p.m. Throw the Fight with Common Choir is a 21+ show coming to the What’s Up Lounge, beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Key City Bike invites you to join in their Sunset Cruise! Meet at Key City Bike at 7:15 p.m. to hit the road. Check out “Selfhood” at the 410 Project along the way. Lights and helmets are recommended; bring your own beverage of choice.

Saturday

It’s time for the 48th Annual Pioneer Power Show at the Le Sueur County Pioneer Association Show Grounds. Tickets and more information are available here. Kids 12 and under get in free! The Mankato Vintage Market will host a Flea Market & Craft Fair this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring local vendors. Stop by and shop outdoors and in-store.

I’ve been enjoying a lot of time kayaking these days. Girls, get out on the water! Bent River Outfitter is offering Women on the Water: a ladies-only excursion! Learn basic kayak skills and strokes, then head out for a leisurely paddle on local rivers. The cost is $50, with lunch included. Outings are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Or, enjoy a guided hike in Flandrau State Park in New Ulm, exploring the natural and historical significance of the area. The hike will take place from 1-2 p.m. Stick around for Discover Flandrau State Park, where you’ll learn about all the wonderful programming and opportunities the park has to offer. Or, swing by from 7-8 p.m. for the Flandrau State Park Story, an outdoor lecture and discussion of the park’s major projects and history.

Chris Schoenstedt will be performing at the Coffee Hag from 5-7 p.m., and you can catch the Barn Boys and their classic country hits at Indian Island Winery from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The fabulous Miss Ava Cado and Wanda Gag will host a fierce drag show at Mettlers in Mankato, featuring 10 performers ready to sing, dance, and entertain. This show is 21+ and tickets are available here. The Golden Hour series continues at the Wine Café in Old Town Mankato from 7-9 p.m., with Nate Boots and Beret Finken.

Sunday

Get moving in the morning! Meet at Dakota Meadows Middle School in North Mankato at 7 a.m. for the Running with Rescues 5k, a pet-friendly run/walk benefiting BENCHS. The price to register goes up the longer you wait, so sign up now! Or, bicyclists can head to LocAle Brewing Company at 8 a.m. for the River Valley 100, a chance for cyclists of many levels to ride. This event is FREE, but online registration helps with planning, and donations are accepted.

The Coffee Hag will host Ben Scruggs, performing from noon to 2 p.m. Paul Stewart will bring 50’s and 60’s hits, plus country and current hits to Indian Island Winery from 1-3:30 p.m. Crista Bohlmann will perform in the outdoor Schell’s Biergarten from 1-4:30 p.m. Another Time Around will be at the Landing on Madison from 3-6 p.m., and you can catch the Jeremy Poland Band at the Westwood Marina in Kasota from 4-7 p.m.

Bonus: Letting Go Is Not Something You Do

Joshua Fields Millburn is one of the Minimalists. He wrote an interesting post called Letting Go Is Not Something You Do. It’s very brief and relevant to what I think I’m trying to say about routines. Check it out.

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Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.

Author


  • is a writer, gardener, and animal lover. She returned to the Mankato area after completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.