Sunday, January 7, 2018

Hoping for Structure in 2018





I’ve spent the first week of 2018 sending out New Year’s letters, reading an engrossing mystery novel, doing laundry, taking down the tree, organizing the tree ornaments and the home decorations into three bins for easy access next Christmas, blogging, eating fruitcake and mandarin oranges, going to lunch with a niece, sleeping-sleeping-sleeping, and in general, enjoying feeling healthier than I have since January 2014. I am gleeful right now because I’m healthy and eager for life.

I enjoy my life more when I have structure in it. Possibly the word routine would be better. I can be completely spontaneous when the phone rings and someone wants to do something. On a daily basis, however, I like routine. That’s because I need to feel that I’m accomplishing something I love to do.

Among the things that give me pleasure are writing, painting watercolors, walking, blogging, talking with someone on the phone, working jigsaw puzzles, doing yoga, branching my dendrites by using a “brain” exercise book, doing T’ai Chi Chih, dancing, playing the keyboard, studying Greek, reading mystery novels, and playing solitaire or doing a Sudoku.

I also like going out with someone to lunch, shopping, or seeing a movie; sleeping/napping; reading historical non-fiction; baking bread; making soup; meditating; decluttering; and looking out the window at the world beyond.

I can’t fit all of that into any one day or even one week. Still, I’m working to build a routine that will enable me to incorporate each of these activities into my life on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

For example: On a weekly basis, I want to write, blog, do yoga, study Greek, and walk.

On a monthly basis, I want to declutter some part of my home or garage for one hour every Saturday, bake bread a couple of times, and go to a movie once or twice.

You see the pattern. I want to do these activities on a somewhat regular basis, knowing that not everything will go as planned because life happens and given the chance to do something else on any given day, I’ll probably do it—health permitting!

I do, however, want, in general, a daily structure, part of which will be writing in my gratitude journal before turning off the light and going to bed each night. I’ve done this for over twenty years. I write about whoever or whatever has brought me happiness and contentment that day.

If I have no structure—no routine—I mostly read, do solitaire, and sleep. Those three activities are enjoyable, but I need interests beyond them. This year I hope to honor that part of myself that wants a more rounded life.

Or course, ill health has taught me that I have little control over what I want to do. That is, I control the way I respond to the changes, uncertainties, and vicissitudes of my life. But I have always believed in dreaming BIG—even about structure and routines!

Does all this make sense to you? Do you need structure or a routine?  If so, what kind?

Peace to you as the second week of the new year begins.


The illustration is from Wikipedia.

26 comments:

  1. I didn't know you painted watercolors. If they are as good aw your writing, I'd love to see them!! Can you post one or two of them, please?

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    1. Dear Fishducky, watercolors are one of the things I like to do but I haven't painted in years. And so this year I've added painting to those things that will bring me joy. When I have something that delights me, I'll post it! Peace.

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  2. I find it fascinating that so many of the same things (writing, watercolor, blogging, walking, etc.) give so many of us pleasure. Truth be told, we are all probably more alike than we think. A bit of structure or routine is good ... as long as it's not set in stone. The freedom to do nothing is good too!

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    1. Dear Rian, yes, I so agree with you that this routine cannot be set in stone. I must remain flexible and see everything as mostly tentative--what I'd like to do when I'm not doing nothing. And that's something I really enjoy too! Peace.

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  3. Yes, I need the total structure of knowing what I want to and can do. When I had the brain injury in March and could not figure out my life for several months, I simply was crazy. By July/August I was finding a way to structure. I'm not there, but how I understand, and wonder how you bore up so long. xxoo

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    1. Dear Joanne, it's really been three years since I had any structure and the truth is that like you felt I also feel--just a little crazy. Off-kilter. As if somethings amiss. And it is--I need structure. Peace. PS: I'm so glad that you are truly recovering from the March fall.

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  4. I crave routine. I seem to flounder when my daily schedule is out of order. Even going away for a week throws me, which is not a good thing. I need to be way more adaptable.

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    1. Dear Birdie, "flounder" is the right word. I've been "floundering," and finally I've put my finger on the problem. I know we all need to be adaptable and I will try to be with this routine, but oh I long for some sameness that especially involves daily writing and walking. Peace in this new year.

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  5. I need routine. Routines which others may not recognise for what they are, but give me a solid structure to build my day/month/life around.
    My love of routine is probably a goodly part of why I am a home body. Routine provides me with a safe harbour in the messy complexity of life.

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  6. Dear EC, yes, I understand what you are saying. Routine provides comfort in my life, especially when there is too much muchness. Peace.

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  7. I too love to have a routine, something that gives a structure to my days. I also like to get started early and end up in bed at a time some people (like my husband) feel is just the time to start the day. I wake at 5:00am without an alarm and really enjoy having a structure to each day, a bit different depending on the day of the week. I like the activities you list here. :-)

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    1. Dear DJan, during the past three years with health issues and recuperations, I've gotten into the habit of going to be later and then getting 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night. My body seemed to need that.

      Now I want to have a routine that allows me to accomplish what I most enjoy so I'm going to try to turn off the light around 10:30 and then get up at 7:30. It's going to be different for me, but I'll still be getting the 9 hours of sleep my body seems to crave.

      I can't image getting up at 5:00 am. but here I am right now at the computer and it's around 4:30 am so sometimes the body gives me a message, "Rise and shine!" and I'm out of that bed! Peace to you as you rise today.

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  8. Good for you, Dee. Purpose and accomplishment leads to a happier, healthy life.

    I love structure because it ends with results. I had that until my husband retired. I want to get back to it but it is difficult when you live with a needy person. It is not his fault, life has been difficult for him these past few years.

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    1. Dear Arleen, yes, that's it--Results! I'm eager to have results at the end of the day.

      I'm sorry to learn that your husband's retirement has been difficult. Having never married or had "a significant other" (as we used to say), I do not have any experience of living with another person and needing to adjust to him or her when the person is needy.

      For me, while I'm trying to "Let go and let the Holy Oneness of All Creation of which you and I and all others are a part manifest what is good for me and the Universe" that would be difficult.

      I hope 2018 is better for you. Peace, pressed down and overflowing ever and always.

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  9. You definitely are feeling better to put so many goals on you plate. Fantastic news and hope your health only improves daily.
    I probably need routine but I avoid it outside of pet care. I am pretty much an up and go type of person. Maybe this year I'll try to incorporate a bit more structure. Think I would get more done if I did. Thanks for the nudge.

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    1. Dear Patti, yes, the cats with whom I live--Ellie, Maggie, and Matthew--insist on my getting up to feed them each morning and then giving them more nibbles around 2 pm and then again at 8 pm and a final snack at 10 pm!!!! They know the schedule as well as I do!

      You're welcome for the nudge. I'll be interested in discovering whether more structure works for you. Peace.

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  10. No wonder you stay young at heart with such a wide variety of interests and hobbies. Everything I read says that's the way to eternal youth! I'm glad your health has improved and you're feeling so energetic.Yes, I need structure too, otherwise I can fritter time away doing minor things and achieving none of the big ones! I want to write, meditate and sew every day. Not to mention read, practice yoga, get back into tai chi, meet up regularly with friends. Right now I don't have a routine, just willy-nilly, so you're right - that's the secret. Maybe to even write the time blocks for each activity in a planner and pretend I'm in an office and it HAS to get done or else! I'll let you know how it goes and I'll be reading here to follow your progress. Good luck!

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    1. Dear Molly, sounds as if you stay young at heart the same way, and that you, too, have lost your routine.

      I do write the activities in time blocks so that the day moves smoothly from one to another until I'm watching the PBS Newshour at 6 pm. Then it's all relaxation until bed.

      I'll be reading your blog to see how it goes for you. Let's work on this together. Peace.

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  11. Indeed structure has always been important to me along with some daring adventures into the wilderness etc. with my two sons. Now my caretaker role includes mostly all structure as that make life "normal" and at least doable. And I 'm good with that being a life time omnivorous reader...:)

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    1. Dear Troutbirder, being a reader must allow you to read in-between those times that you are care taking and cherishing your loved one. What a blessing you must be to one another. Peace.

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  12. I'm so glad to hear you are feeling so well. It makes such a difference to have the energy to do some of the things that make life good.
    I guess I like a balance between structure and serendipity. Especially since I retired I really appreciate the luxury of spontaneity. Just doing things on a whim. Reading what I feel like at the moment. Drawing or writing when the spirit moves me.

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    1. Dear Cynthia, thank you for stopping by. And yes, feeling healthier makes such a difference in how much I attempt to do and how much I enjoy what I'm doing.

      Like you I enjoy the "luxury of spontaneity." The doing things on a whim can lead to some wonderful surprises. Peace today and every day this year.

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  13. Hello from NZ, and thanks for your visit to my blog. Routine, I had to run to a clock for so many years, these days I prefer not to have my day planned to every hour, just do what fits in best.to be able to sit and read, or sort fabrics, or phone a friend, or do some research on the net, are luxuries I never take for granted. I will visit you again.Fond greetings from another friend of Inger's.

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    1. Dear Nancy, I noted that on Inger's blog she called you Jean, so I'm thinking that's the name I'll use when I leave comments.

      I try not to plan every hour and to do things in a broad period of time so that I'm not feeling that something must get done. I want to feel free to live the moment. Peace.

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  14. I felt so happy for you while reading your beautiful sharing
    all the lovely stuff you love to do is same that either i love to do my friend!

    i am grateful that you are feeling healthy and active to face new year and this is very important to FEEL HAPPY AND HEALTHY as after this all seems undercontrol

    Yet one has no control over stuff ,this is only God ,we as human a=can wish and try only and give our best in our efforts and rest consequences must leave upon God (because nothing will change if we will not)

    I follow my day with my easy and adjustable nature i don't resist

    moment that comes to me i live it according to it's requirement and it gives back sense of pleasure and achievement as simple

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    1. Dear Baili, I'm hoping that this year I will become a little more like you. that is, that I will not resist the offerings of the moment. That I will live in the present and in Presence. Peace.

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