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Rituals

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April 16, 2020
January 14, 2021
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Thursday, April 16th - Shelter Day 27

It’s a rare day on the Gulf Coast of Florida when the temperature drops to a humid 64 degrees. Ah, a chance to make that batch of chili I’ve been craving. Adding the final dose of black beans (I use 4 different kinds) to the slow cooker, I look up and notice our antique wooden calendar said Monday, April 13. Is that right or is my husband intentionally trying to confuse an already scrambled brain? What day is it? I look at my watch. It says today is Thursday, April 16th.

I am usually the first one up in the morning and my feet march down the stairs, past the wooden calendar and straight to the Keurig, and then down the stairs to get the paper while my cup brews. Ah, the delicious quiet of the early morning when one savors no conversation, but the grazing of the day’s stories, and the scanning of the morning’s national online newsletters. The rising sun will soon be in my face. Time to do what now? Lower the shade and work the Jumble puzzle. I’m stuck on the 4th word. I leave it waiting next to Mark’s coffee cup.

Mark would follow down the stairs at some point. His first stop is the wooden calendar for the morning ritual turning of the day of week and date. Coffee came next. The round, wooden calendar has been in our lives for more than 40 years of our 45 years together.

How come I had not noticed the calendar stuck on Monday yesterday? Was I too busy “nesting,” an activity most commonly associated with being pregnant? Fat chance. I had cleaned out 2 closets, sorted out a dozen ragged beach towels destined for the garage and car washing. Men can nest too. “I’m going downstairs to clean the black off the screened-in porch and the tile floor,” Mark announced. People in Florida with a lanai or screened-in porch know this messy routine.

With the pantry reorganized, batteries of all sizes now sorted into their new carry case, the light bulb inventory taken and laundry caught up, I went to see which chore on the new list of neglected projects seemed doable. Next… wait. This is all wrong.

What did I usually do after I finished the morning news feed ritual with my coffee? Get on my workout clothes and head to the gym. Oh, right. It’s closed. I had tried to incorporate my trainer’s online session into my day. Failed. Ah, let’s download that Silver Sneakers cardio workout. Boring. How about a bike ride? I am supposed to be dressed by now and at my office. No client calls until 1pm today. I head to the bedroom to review clothing options. Hmm, the bed is not made. Doesn’t Mark usually do that? OK. I’ll take that on. How long has it been since we made the bed? Why hasn't it bothered me?

No office clothes jump on me in my closet. Gym clothes. I’ll change my top for the Zoom call later. Now in my home office, client files sorted neatly on the floor and piles of meeting notes waiting to be scanned, I am reminded of my husband’s law office. Thick, heavily used, brown accordion files stacked neatly every 20 inches up against 2 walls, remembering I could never work like that. I hear the buzzer on the dishwasher go off. It can wait, but it’s so gorgeous outside. My pot of overflowing Aloe Vera really does need to be broken into baby pots and my gardening table really does need to be organized. Where are those boxes of small yellow pots I ordered on Gardener’s Eden last year? Neighbors must need some Aloe Vera in their kitchens. Right, no client meetings til 1 today.

As an executive coach, focus and productivity are new priorities. Why can I help clients design their WFH daily schedules, but am failing myself? I realize we also need to integrate the important daily rituals. Noted.

The easiest ritual so far is cocktail hour, but wait—it’s only 11 am.

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