I know I've lost most of my readers. Who could be interested?
Here's my subjective definition of ruts as I use the word here:
one's consuming passion, major preoccupation, primary interest (For women it's likely to be someone; for men: something).
Look for a moment at the 1st and 2nd halves of life: -35 expanding, seeking adventure, filled with the world and wordly expectation. Look at The Four Stages of Life with special reference to Youth and Manhood. (Working near the Nat'l Gallery I used to visit that painting about twice a week during my lunch period.)
Youth represents the 1st half of life, in the course of which the youth gradually does one of two things:
1) They find the tribe that suits them best and join it.
2) One becomes an individual for one of two reason, or perhaps a combination of the two: simply a misfit or perhaps increasingly contemptuous of the available tribes.
Now we come to ruts; a rut may be good or bad. Young people usually have a horror of ruts: life is an adventure; why spoil it? taste variety. Wonderful!!
But it can't go on; the 2nd half of life is said to begin at 35 (an indefinite figure of course; some are old at 18). You begin to feel that you have been everywhere and seen/done everything.
At that point a person of necessity may begin to review his options and set some priorities (he or she may fall in love!)
Anyway there remains so much time to do--- what?
The consequence is a rut (consuming passion, overriding occupation, compulsive use of time). It leaves out a lot of things that no longer seem so important-- like trying every foreign menu or visiting every foreign country; those things may finally begin to become tiresome in comparison to one real love.
There's something you must do, something in which like C.S.Lewis you may find yourself saying "I love monotony".
Truthfully the person in a rut is much more fortunate than the person without one, just drifting with the tide.
Here are some of my ruts:
managing drunks (1966-76)
the holy grail, which led to a family upheaval and move to a foreign place.
William Blake became obsessional about 1978 and led to a book? about his religious faith.
About 1985 through a strange chain of events I become a genealogist; if you're interested in my ancestors (hah!) check out the Clayton and Leech Families.
Linux (hopefully a forthcoming post about that)
The secret of ruts for me has always been an alternation. I can remain compulsive about nothing more than a resonable period. Drift or pick up the last one. Right now I blog for a while, then do linux for a while (in a very amateurish way).
Everyone should share with us their favorite ruts. Do it!