i am, like all of us i suppose, a creature of habit. i want to live my life with a certain orderliness, to organize my days after a certain pattern. i follow a routine upon wakening: i open our dog's kennel and together he and i leave the bedroom, i close the door from the bedroom so as not to wake my wife as i putter around the house, i turn off the house alarm, i grab my phone and stick it in my pocket, i get myself a glass of ice water and take my early morning medicines, i get my computer, i sit down in my chair in the den, i meditate, i practice my german, i read the blogs i follow on that day of the week, i feed the cats and the dog. by that time my wife is usually up and breakfast preparations are begun, or, weather permitting, we go for a walk and then begin working on breakfast. after breakfast, our day together begins.
usually, our day was planned the day before. when we finish breakfast, we have our plan of action determined. my wife is a great list-maker, and she has her list for the day which we begin to follow. i, on the other hand, avoid writing lists at all costs. somehow, once something is put on a list that is written down, it becomes an obligatory action, and failure to perform it is a moral failing. sure, i have lists in my head, but for me those are not as binding as written lists. if i'm not able to tick something off my mental list, i can push it over into the next day's list without feeling guilty. between my wife's written lists and my mental lists, our days are pretty productive.
at the end of the day, we sometimes have very different perspectives on how the day went. my wife often feels as if we didn't accomplish enough--there are items she was unable to cross off her list. i then begin to recite all the things that we did accomplish and, by the time i've reminded us of all the tasks that were completed, we both feel pretty good about our day, and we have the start of the next day's list with what remains on our to-do lists for this day.
when something happens and my routine is disrupted, i have to psyche myself up or the change spoils my day. it helps if i know in advance that i won't be able to follow my usual routine so that i'm mentally prepared for it, but, if i oversleep or some emergency occurs, it's hard for me to keep from feeling as if my day has been ruined. sometimes i wish that i could be more spontaneous about how i live my life and wonder how people who don't follow a pattern in their daily lives get anything done. what must that be like, to have no ritual at the beginning of the day, no set plan for how the day is to go, no goals for the day? i am envious of such people, and yet i am comfortable in my regimen. i enjoy the feeling that each day is productive, that i get some important solitary processes done at the beginning of the day, and that my wife and i work together to achieve our predetermined daily tasks.
i have the fifteen-or-so blogs that i read each week organized into bookmarks for each day of the week so that i generally get around to them all. i have my pills for each day in pillboxes that are prepared two weeks in advance. i have timers on lights inside and outside the house that i want to come on and off at precise times. we always begin thinking about what we are to cook on the weekend early in the week, so that by thursday we have a menu worked out, and on thursday or friday at breakfast we make our grocery list based on that menu and do our grocery shopping after breakfast one of those days. we cook enough on the weekend so that we don't have to do much cooking for our dinners during the week. we have a set time each month that we sit down together and pay our bills. on sunday morning i write my weekly blog post and refine it on monday and tuesday before posting on tuesday morning. during the summer, thursday is yard day, so grocery shopping has to be done on friday morning. this is pretty much how our life is organized, and i suppose it works well for us. not much is left to chance and there is a precision to our days that is quite satisfying.
i know that living this way would be maddening to many, just as living without a set process for getting things done would be maddening for us. we each are so different and yet so much the same. we yearn for stability, but we achieve it in diverse ways. some of us are planners, some of us "fly by the seat of our pants." for some of us each day is a blank canvas to be filled in as the day goes by, and some of us have all the puzzle pieces laid out for us in advance so that the day is a process of putting the puzzle together.
life is wonderful that way--so many varied approaches on how to live it, and all of us wanting the same things in the end. love, respect, appreciation, food, shelter, clothing, contact with others, times of rest and activity. if we have those things, life is good. may we each have a good life, regardless of how we approach it. may we not judge others for living life differently from us and may we celebrate our diversity, appreciating each other for it. shalom.