“The domestic lives we live … make possible our writing lives; our imaginations are freed by the prospect of … a predictable and consoling routine.” Joyce Carol Oates
Some individuals retire to escape routines yet, paradoxically, routines can form the very framework necessary for happiness in our sunset years. When I retired from my nine to five job, I recognized the need to develop a framework for my days. In doing so, I decided to eliminate the word “routine,” with its negative connotation, from my vocabulary. I opted to initiate “rituals” and “rhythms.”
WALKING TO WELLNESS
Taking a long walk every morning with our beloved golden retriever represented my first new ritual in adapting to part-time work. While I knew Cheyenne would love it, I underestimated the salutary effects on me. When we bade a sad farewell to Cheyenne in 2014, this ritual had become ensconced in my schedule.
I dubbed it my “Hello Day” walk, said with a cheerful lilt to stimulate a positive state of mind. My wellness grew to depend on the combination of fresh air (even on days overly crisp at -30 C or overly hot at +30 C), beauty (in the seasonally changing views), quiet contemplation and mild exercise.
OUTLINING AN AGENDA
Occasionally I mull over troubling issues. Always I envisage the day ahead. How will I spend my waking hours to augment the degree of my happiness? A myriad of activities comes easily to mind but, if we do not craft a plan, our day slips away. At its end we may feel our time’s been lost.
Rather than account for our day in the evening, we might outline a reasonable agenda for it in the morning. This practice helps to ensure our daily contentment.
Although I’ll propose other favourable rituals in my posts, please submit yours for our consideration. •