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There’s a Method to the Rhythm

It’s Saturday morning, and blessedly quiet in the house.  The incessant rain makes me too lazy to even hoist an umbrella and run out to collect the papers off the driveway, so this is feeling like a more meditative post.  ( meditative is a great word substitute for lazy, wouldn’t you say?)

We’re all creatures of habit to some extent, and we like a certain amount of consistency in our lives.   Not so much that we fall into a rut, but just enough so we don’t have to over-think our daily choices and can use our finite pool of energy on the things we consider important.   I think that’s why I’m fascinated by other people’s routines.  Every Sunday The New York Times profiles a person’s Sunday routine in the Metropolitan section and I just eat that up.   One week it’s the lead ballerina for the NYC ballet and the next week it’s Jonathan Schwartz from WNYC, but it could also be the doorman from the Dakota and I’m just as enthralled to hear where he gets his bagels or that he always buys flowers from the same stand near the bakery where he visits his mom in Astoria.  When I worked in NYC I would think about following one of my fellow commuters to the final destination of their commute  just to observe their routine: where their office was/ where they got their coffee/ did they take the bus or the subway?  I never actually did this, but I find the morning rush to work just a fascinating human activity based on routine.   All of us scrubbed and shiny, thinking about our day ahead and the array of possibilities unfurling before us.  You know, anything can happen in that golden hour before you are chained to your desk working for The Man.

So I start the week with a full head of steam on Monday thinking about work and all those lofty objectives on my “to- do list” and by Thursday my mental wrapping is beginning to come loose (and I’m running out of appropriate work attire) as that blank check known as the weekend is waiting to be cashed.   Most of the folks around me are feeling the same way, and I like the “Yabba Dabba Doo” sense of community we have as 5PM approaches.  And there is just more stuff to do than I can fit into any one weekend!   I like this crazy rhythm to my weeks, even when I’m falling into bed exhausted on a Sunday night.  (or a Friday night if the week has been particularly grueling ~ after Joan Rivers’ Fashion Police, of course.)  And when I wake up on Saturday morning with nothing on the calendar (other than an appliance delivery in the late afternoon, but that’s a whole ‘nother kind of story) I’m in a state of boredom bliss trying to decide what to do first.

When I was a kid time felt so infinite and slow that I doubted I’d ever make it to adulthood.  Now that I’ve seen quite a few winters and summers, I’m beginning to understand more fully something my late mother-in-law used to say, ” The days are so long but the years are so short.”  Maybe it is nature’s way of helping us to weed out the unimportant stuff, to get on with the business of really living.  I’m not saying that life is only about enjoying yourself  ~  sometimes we have to do things that are not our choice.  But it is this cycling of life that causes us to think more artfully about what we do, how we do it and who we do it with.

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7 thoughts on “There’s a Method to the Rhythm

  1. While I don’t share your enthusiasm for and interest in daily routine, I must admit I too am very much a creature of habit. Switch purses and I’ll spend half the day wondering what I forgot. I was completely off balance when I started taking mass transit to work. I would spend the day frantically trying to remember if I locked the car in the parking garage… did I remember to turn off the headlights, etc.

    And you are a very fine writer, this is wonderful 🙂

    1. The only way to remember stuff (did I lock the door, turn off the headlights, etc,) is to say it out loud to yourself, including the day you did it: “Im locking the car on Tuesday.” That way you’ll hear yourself saying it in your head all day. Anybody who overhears you won’t think you are nutz, once they realize how useful a habit it is. That, honestly, is what I like about habits & routines – they save time on the inconsequential stuff, leaving me time to be adventurous on the things that matter – a new book to read, a new place for lunch, a conversation with somebody unexpected, time to pay a little compliment to somebody who seems to need one…

    2. That’s the problem with remembering this stuff. It’s so routine to do it that you don’t (well, *I* don’t) give it much conscious thought, I’m on auto-pilot with the little stuff. But I think we need to be, to some extent, or we’d never be able to move past minutiae and think of anything else. I do actually say that stuff in my head (never thought about adding the day though, I’ll have to try that, thanks!) and it is helpful.

    3. DD, thank you for the props!
      But I know what you mean: it’s like that driving amnesia when you find yourself in your driveway but can’t recollect at all how you got there. I suppose there is a whole branch of neuroscience surrounding that phenomenon.

  2. My amnesia manifests itself inside the house – I’ll get up, go upstairs, and then find myself standing there wondering “why’d I come here?”

  3. Oh yes, that happens to me all the time… along with the evil twin thought of, “Where DID I leave my glasses?” It can’t be time to get one of those chains for my pince-nez yet?

  4. It’s my blessing & my curse to be so nearsighted that my glasses are never farther away than my own face. I’m getting a wee bit farsighted now too, but for the moment all I need are those over-the-counter glasses that are so cheap, if I lose a pair I just go buy another at the A+P.

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