As it happens it’s been a beautiful day today, first day out of the shop. There’s a serene blue sky and the calm, clear light that makes you believe in a higher being. For the first time in months I’ve walked around in a t-shirt.
I woke this morning thinking I had things I had to start in on. Most of those things relate to getting my life heading off in another, productive, direction. That’s a big thing. The smaller thing was that I had to get some routine in my life.
Routine is underrated. There is a time I would have turned my nose up at it. Routine seemed too mundane for such a free spirit like me. But then your life is thrown into disarray, and you realise how much the simple routines in your life have given you.
I’ve come to understand that the habits and routines we repeat daily are a kind of home. It’s natural for someone to return from a long journey away and feel comforted to be in their home environment again. Everything is in its familiar place, and it’s yours. Routines are like that, but they are of time and place. They create order in our life, a structure within which we live. Without thought we follow what have become the rituals that define the prosaic nitty-gritty of how we live – when we have coffee, and at what cafe; the train we catch in the morning, the person we nod to; the favourite TV show we sit down to each week with a happy sigh; when we mix a drink, or start dinner – the music we listen to it as we do it. Even the practical realities of when we go to the grocery store, or put out the rubbish. There is comfort in routine, and an unconscious sense of security.
While it’s all very humdrum, it’s all very real – and when you don’t have it you miss it. Most of my old routines have been smashed apart. The few remaining I cling to like jetsam in a raging sea. There are few new routines because little of my life has allowed it. There has been little pattern, and though most of my days have been dull there are no two the same.
I’m a long off from re-establishing any meaningful routines. I need my own home for that properly, and a proper job would help. What I have now is time, suddenly. There are little routines I can get going, and perhaps there are things now that I can catch up with. This is my first day though of relative freedom and I’m a little confused by it.
One routine I’ve established is my morning coffee. Back in the day I’d rock up to my favourite cafe either on the way to work, or half an hour into it, wearing my suit and maybe my tie and order my morning latte and exchange banter with the barista who has come to know me, and my order, by rote. I can look forward to that perhaps, but for now what I do is get into the car and away from the chaos of the house and will find a cafe – there are about 4 I choose between – to sit with a latte, a newspaper, and perhaps my twitter feed, watching the world go by. While it lasts, about 40 minutes, it’s as close as I get to peace.
I did that this morning. I came back and emptied out the car of the stuff I had taken from the shop. I made calls to people in response to the news on my shop. I sent an email to the proposal guy and confirmed a meeting on Friday. I put a load of washing on. And then I sat down and read. This was luxury. Talk about routines. I used to read EVERY night before going to sleep. Now, never. I’ve been too busy otherwise, or not found a peaceful nook to read in. Today I had the house to myself and read for hours, finishing the book (a good one – Thick as Thieves by Peter Spiegelman – would make an excellent movie.)
Then there was the sunshine. I wandered out in it in my shirtsleeves. Rigby followed, frolicking, delighted to have daddy about for a change. It felt so serene that you are made to think that it can’t last. I gazed about, feeling the pleasant warmth on my skin, thinking, this is free at least, and how lucky are we…
That’s it today. Think as today as if I was coming up from the deep. De-pressurising. Tomorrow I have to get back into it proper. The real stuff begins.
Now it’s time to walk the dog.