I met a woman this summer who told me that she had trouble enjoying summer because of the lack of routine. She said she wasn’t sure what to do with herself because she was outside of her normal schedule. That conversation stayed with me for weeks and kept popping into my consciousness. It’s only now, on this first morning of returning to our prevailing household routines that I am understanding why, exactly, her words made such an impression on me: I thought she was crazy.
I couldn’t understand what she was talking about. I love days when we get to wake up and let our moods dictate our activities. To me, the two scariest words in the English language are ‘office job’. Now, don’t misunderstand here, I’m a creature of habit to be sure. If there isn’t a cup of coffee within the first five minutes of my morning, my entire day will be off. And I believe wholeheartedly in the value of certain routines for my kids (stories before bed are crucial for example)—but I’ll be the first to tell you that there’s no rhyme or reason to which ones give me comfort and which ones make me shiver with anxiety.
As much as I love the summer routine of having no routine at all—with each passing day in August, as the sun sets a few moments earlier, there is an anxious undercurrent of knowledge that it’s going to end. That soon, all the going-with-the-flow and doing-what-we-feel is going to give way to alarm clocks and set schedules. Certainly it all has it’s virtues: new beginnings and fresh starts among them. In our religion it’s the season for repenting to those you’ve sinned against and (my interpretation) contemplating your goals for improvement in the current year. All worthy.
This particular autumn brings change for my family. A new school for Jake. A solo trip across the country for Niall and I. More designated working hours for me. Growth and forward movement.
And so I take my anxiety and swallow hard. Step forward into the next season and set that alarm clock.