Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rhythms, routines and more

The rhythm of my week flows in the opposite direction of most of the people I know. The weekend comes, and instead of exhaling and looking forward to some fun, I'm heading to work. Today, as my friends are shaking off their holiday weekend and resuming their routines, my leisure time comes. After decades though of a work week structure, I feel self-indulgent and lazy not being task focused. I slept until eight o'clock, instead of arriving at an office then, appropriately attired and fully made up. How slothful.

That pattern hasn't fit me for some time now, but I still feel like it should. Working as a mortgage broker, my hours were varied. I might meet a client at 6:00 a.m. over a Waffle House breakfast to collect documents, process a loan later in the morning, then kick back in the afternoon before doing a presentation at a realtor's meeting in the evening. As a caregiver, the external structure came from doctor's appointments, but the day to day routine was dominated by the caprice of illness. Would I spend an hour convincing my traditionally well groomed but now senile father that pants were necessary when going outdoors? Or, shifting to other needs, what could I cook or where could we eat to tempt the anorexic daughter into not starving herself?
Working as a freelance writer has had me at the computer in those delicious dark hours where the line between night and morning was blurred beyond distinction.

The lines between structure and adaptability have been equally blurred for some time. There is comfort in routine though. It provides a sense of order and accomplishment. Beyond that, it also provides what I have come to see as a necessity in life. When you have a routine, you have something to anticipate. That is the necessity. A good routine gives you hope.

Tidying a desk at the end of proscribed work hours says the rest of the day is mine to do with as I please. Knowing the liberty of that time is limited, you're more likely to do something good with it. My time feels unbound, but that is an illusion. I have tasks and chores that can fill my hours and keep me busy without breaks. House, yard, animals, job hunting, even writing all demand that I stay busy. Yet, they're all chores, and I don't get a sense of completion from them. Beyond that, I don't feel that sense of anticipation what when they're done, I can do something that nourishes the inner me.

The things that feed my spirit feel beyond my potential for right now. I crave seeing something different beside my overgrown yard and boring rooms. Yet I have to watch every penny of gas money. My own bookshelves and local library are only offering up the same old journeys I've already taken. The grocery budget won't allow experimenting with an untried recipe whose barely edible results I may get stuck with for days. For everything I think of that's exciting or grin inducing, I come up with a "but..."

So, what do I do? We all live with limitations that chafe. I make efforts to live consciously, trying to truly take in and experience the current moment. I make the budget provide the occasional indulgence, choosing a couple more meals based on rice to accommodate the bottle of wine every other week or so. The feeling of peace that the lights will stay on is something I anticipate when I pick up my paycheck. To get through the days, I scale my hopes back to what I can realistically expect. To make the life I want, I keep trying to dream big and find the structure, the strategy to get from here to there.


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

My life is FULL of chores. There is literally no time that I should not be doing something, that I don't have a pile of things that need doing. It helps for me to realize that some "chores"--like gardening--are really relaxation for me. In fact, I can even enjoy cleaning my house...because I get to spend so little time here, it feels good to reacquaint myself with my stuff. It's all in how you look at it, I guess...

May 27, 2009 12:26 AM  

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