Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On Rhythm and Routine

I used to say that I'm a creature of habit. The older I get, however, the less I think that's true. I wish I could say that it's because I'm getting more flexible with each passing day but the truth is, that's not it. Don't get me wrong, there are still some things that I do by habit. I drive the same route to work every day. I put certain things in the same place every time I use them and if they don't end up in that spot (for whatever reason), I'm just as lost as they are. I brush and floss daily. If you ask my husband, he'd probably be able to tell you even more! But the rest of life? It seems that circumstances have left less and less room for habit. Or perhaps a better word is routine. My life lacks routine and it seems that routine is one of those things you don't understand the full value of or appreciate until it's gone!

I have not worked a regular Monday through Friday job in years but the last five years have certainly been the least regular or predictable. My classification at the pool is part time, temporary, on call, seasonal. What a mouthful. Basically, what that means is that they owe me nothing and they own me, seven days a week. It wasn't so bad when I had Journey to count on. It was a stable income and, to balance the job, forced some level of regularity. Now, however, there's a sense of having to take "whatever I can get" work wise. Early mornings (5 am anyone) and late nights. Open. Close. Split shifts. Teaching. Guarding. Filling in at several pools. While life certainly isn't boring, there is a certain lack of routine and predictability.

For a time, I wasn't able to get a lot of work but lately, thankfully, I have been in high demand in the world of aquatics. From a work perspective, I'm thankful. With the demands on our finances, I am grateful for the slight relief, even if it's only for a time. The downside, it seems, is that time is the sacrifice for financial freedom. And time is valuable. Less time means less ability to do the things at home that we've learned to count on me supper, house cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, being home when the girls get ready in the morning or go to school, paying the bills and generally keeping us to some form of organized chaos.

Then there's our schedule with the girls. It certainly isn't the week on/week off type schedule that child psychologists and specialists relating to divorce would recommend...for the sake of everyone. While there's a pattern (if you look really hard for it), there certainly isn't routine or stability to be found there.

And then there's Colin's job. It's full. It's big. It's demanding. While the challenge and responsibility are good for him (men need that, right?), he's good at it (great if you ask his wife) and he does his best to provide well for us, the only thing we can predict right now is long days and lots of hours.

And, while one can flex and extend for a time, after a while it takes it's toll.  I feel as though I've hit that point. I'm longing for routine. For supper time...and actual time. For the rhythm of rest and work. For regular time and space in the schedule to work out. For regular bed times and enough sleep. For time with family and friends. For space in the day to accomplish what needs to be done. And for time for extra writing here. I feel it in my body, in my mind and in my soul.

The more I have been thinking about it lately, the more I wonder if perhaps this longing for routine is part of the way we're created to be. Creation occurred in a pattern, God establishing, even in creation, as a matter of importance, rhythms of work and rest, of light and darkness and of day and night. All of creation moves in accordance with that rhythm. Plants photosynthesize in the rhythm of day and night. The tide rises and falls with it. Nocturnal animals play at night and the rest, well, they play during the day. Physically, our bodies function better with certain rhythms. Sleep specialist suggest that sleep will be more consistent and more restful with a regular bed time and regular wake time. Set your alarm for the same time every single day and your body will adjust to it. The seasons proceed with startling regularity and predictability, as much as those of us tormented by the cold and winter may hate to admit it.

And so, recognizing the need for some sort of regularity in life, I'm moving forward, looking for each opportunity to establish some sort of pattern. Each little bit helps.

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