We all hate schedules, and yet, dang it, everyone, no matter how young or not-so-young. has a routine for their days.
To begin with, a newborn infant immediately has a schedule of food, sleep and bath, and which during all of childhood gently but constantly changes, and before long, schooling arrives, then jobs begin, and before we know it, adult Life itself sets in and we have become so ‘routined’ that we ask, “When will I ever get a little Free Time?”
But, unconsciously we like it, for after the freedom of a day or week’s vacation, we snuggle back into our routine with a comfy ‘home again’ feeling. And so it goes, until e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y Retirement, enters our mind, and when it actually becomes real, after the first month or so of ‘no routine’, we not only miss, but need having something to do with our days.
The smart ones see this coming and begin exploring hobbies that, long ago, had been set aside for lack of time. Or we recall some skill we always wanted to learn, such as wood work, a new language, plumbing, farming, writing. We all have long-buried ‘itches’ and finally know that retirement is when they can blossom. At last we have the time to do what we want, not must do. Nice.
I once took some Buddhist classes and found those old Zen Teachers were wise, wise, wise. Their thoughts are from a thousand or more years ago, but they knew about human nature, and that life was life wherever or whenever lived. Among much else, those classes told me of the absolute necessity of a daily routine to use, and to revise as changes come. And, we were reassured, changes would come.
It was stressed to keep it simple, for our days can’t be, or should never be, ‘carbon-copies’ . Can’t be, because, the phone rings and right then, our day can change, or unexpected company comes, an illness or accident happens, you get a headache, and so on, But, the need of a pattern for our days, was still stressed, for like it or not, that’s how life is. Always changing, and after the shock of small, large, joyous or heartbreaking ones, we adjust, flow with life and this adjustment happens mainly because we have a firm foundation, our routine to fall back upon.
So, the good Teachers advised a written Routine, and mine fits nicely on one side of a type sheet, kept in my computer where it’s easily up-dated, and so can print out a few when needed. I then keep them in a loose-leaf where I can make notes for coming days, and refer to what went on a week or two ago if wanted.
On one side of the sheet I have a list of what I plan to put into this ‘machine I call Ethel’, to keep it ready and fit to accomplish what I plan to do with it. This list includes all Medications, plus Vitamins and such, And if I can get those Vitamins from Food or a Capsule, matters not, Just Get Them into my Machine. And this means keeping track of my cups of water, too
And inasmuch as each item, when done, is crossed OFF, there’s no more wondering if I did or didn’t take that pill. It’s there on the sheet.
On the To-Do side, I list my Meditation, or prayer time, plus exercise, tidying the house from yesterday’s leftovers, making phone calls or email that’s needed. Appointments made, walking forward AND backwards, shopping trips needed, etc., bathing, proper care of the body, taking care of daily garbage, my meals, massage and so on.
These lists use about half of the sheet but they will vary as time goes on, but include my writing, which to me is both my work and joy. And I tell myself how much time is spent with that writing and what it is about. I keep track of what and when I eat . . . and if I might feel unwell, I can look back to see if it was something I ate . . . or didn’t eat.
I include walking . . . forward and backward (no fooling, keep that skill, for it helps keep your balance in good condition) Yes, and the care of toe and fingernails. Be as picky as you choose, and if some of the actions are on a weekly or daily schedule, just the same, put them dpwn and keep track. .
Keep your daily sheet where you see it often during the day, and it will not only be a reminder to you to walk, exercise, or meditate, because, for myself, if I feel lost, or moody, I turn to my daily routine and see what I might not have done for that day, and right then and there I go and do it, But any way, it’s usually either writing or meditation I turn to. But choose your own, and you’ll find your mood will change. Just like that. The technique wouldn’t have lasted through the ages if hadn’t worked, then or now, and speedily, too.
Sure worth a try.