Before the last several weeks, I would have sworn to you that I do NOT have nor do I keep any measure of a Routine. My schedule changes every several months–I teach at a community college, so I never have a consistent schedule for very long. I am one of those moms who never put my son on any sort of schedule or Routine–if he was hungry, he ate (when he was a baby)–ok, and even now that’s true (he’s currently 14). I don’t have a dinner schedule, a house-cleaning schedule, a particular day or time to do laundry, a specific day/time to go to the grocery store, and the list goes on and on. I have just never thought of myself as someone who has much of a Routine.
But recent events have made me realize that I am very much a woman of Routine and when my Routine is interrupted, I do not handle it very well.
When my son was approximately two years old, we were invited by some close friends–at the last minute–to go camping with them over the weekend of the 4th. On a whim, we agreed to go. Don’t judge me, but my son was still using a bottle at night to help him get to sleep. Yeah. In all the hustle and bustle and flurry of getting ready at the last minute, yes, we forgot to pack a bottle. We got to the campsite; we set up camp; the kids all went swimming; we had supper and cooked marshmallows and had s’mores. It was perfect. My son fell asleep in my arms as we all enjoyed each others’ company around the campfire. I put him in the tent and then spent another hour or so chatting with my friends. It wasn’t too long before my son woke up and wanted his bottle. Oops. So I sat with him on my lap for a while, believing that he would settle down and go to sleep. Before I knew it, he and I were sitting in our Jeep with the lights on while he clawed me and jumped [on me] at every tiny noise. The following morning, as soon as the gates to the park were open, I made my husband take us home–he had to go back to pack up all of our gear. We weren’t in the car 5 minutes before my son was sound asleep. He slept the whole way home. And guess who was wide awake once we were home and my husband left to go back to the campsite?! Needless to say, I have only been camping one other time in the past 14 years.
That experience taught me that I am NOT a woman who likes or is able to be spontanuous. When I am asked to do something last minute, I tend to say No. I refuse to find myself in such a situation every again.
You would think that lesson alone would have taught me that I am a woman who prefers Routine. But no; I still believed that I was NOT a woman of Routine.
Every day, I spend time reading my Bible, doing a devotion, writing in my journal, and just reading. Whenever I have gone home to visit family, I don’t do any of those things–except read. When we went to Disney World two years ago, not only did I not do those things while we were on vacation, I also didn’t do them for the rest of the year once we got back home. When my parents, my son, and I went to Pigeon Forge this past week, in spite of taking my Bible, devotional, journal, and my book with me, I didn’t open a single one the whole trip.
I also don’t eat any salads or other fruits and vegetables when I’m traveling. It’s just so much easier to eat junk food and snacks. Nor do I exercise in any way–unless you count going swimming (which I don’t because I usually just get in the pool to get wet and cool off rather than doing any actual swimming). And once I’m home, rather than going to the gym the very next day, it’s several days later before I get back to going.
Now that we have been home for two-and-a-half days, I am finding it a pure and complete pleasure to be able to get back into my Routine….I have caught up with my Bible reading (I’m reading the Bible through in a year, so I have a plan I’m trying to stick to), I’m writing in my journal again, and all the rest! And I love it. I’m finding that I really missed THIS part of my days. While going on vacation and/or visiting family are things that I love and want to do, I am finding that I would much rather stay home–mostly because in staying home, I am able to stay in my Routine!
What does any of this have to do with writing? Everything. I didn’t do any writing–journaling or otherwise–while I was on vacation/visiting family. It just seems rude to go to a private place and be by myself even for just an hour to do the things that I so love to do and that are a part of my regular daily Routine–when I’m home.
I am either going to have to find a way to continue my regular daily Routine no matter where I am or what I’m doing, or I’m going to have to quit going on vacation!!! It’s no wonder, though, that I’m not getting the writing done that I so desperately want to do. Once I get out of my daily Routine, it takes me several days to get back into it. So not only do I lose the days I am actually ON vacation, but I also lose several days afterwards as I attempt to acclimate myself back into my regular Routine.
Needless to say, I have learned something important about myself and I am going to use this as a positive learning experience. Just because I leave my home does not have to mean leaving my whole Routine at home. These things that I do on a daily basis are important and shouldn’t be swept aside just because I am not in MY Routine for a few days. I have to make a CONSCIOUS effort to keep doing the important things I need–and want–to do.