In the past ten days, I've left the apartment building four times. We've received four deliveries: Walmart groceries a week ago and then three yesterday--a red letter day. We got a CSA box, the guitar Poodles ordered, and a liter of rubbing alchohol.
Poodles has been revitalized by teaching himself how to play the guitar, (Fender is offering free online lessons) which has me thinking about self-imposed routine and how it can be a source of comfort and a way to prevent oneself from descending into rabbit holes.
I've been working from home for twelve years now, so I'm well-practiced in creating routines that help me manage my time and stay sane. At home, I don't follow a rigid schedule, but I do try for daily activities: exercise, meditate (off-brand, I know), sweep the entire house, prepare three meals, play with my cats, garden or do yard work, and of course my actual job. In the morning, I drink coffee and read. In the evening, I drink wine and watch Netflix or Hulu. In other words, I'm boring, but I get shit done.
But when you live in a somewhat dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere, there's always a project or 300, which may range from the basic (splitting kindling) to the unexpected (trying to figure out what's wrong with the water system) to the esoteric (sorting through a collection of travel brochures from the 1950s that I found jammed in the back corner of a bookshelf.) So it's easy to stay busy and there's a certain amount of variety to my constructive activities.
Here, camped out in an apartment that is not my own, the range of potential activities is narrower. But I'm trying to create some kind of routine to keep myself from spending all of my time in an endless covid-19 web loop.
Unfortunately, I don't have a significant job to engage me. There's plenty of projects I could be working on, but none have deadlines and they are all self-motivated. And I seem to be lacking motivation at the moment. The problem is that everything seems irrelevant in the face of the crises. For example, I want to write a book called The Other Mezcal, which would explore the history, culture, and politics of agave spirits made outside of Oaxaca, particularly raicilla. But for some reason it's hard to focus on topics unrelated to the pandemic. (Though no doubt the pandemic will change the landscape of the industry in question.)
So far I'm having spotty success with establishing a disciplined creative routine. I've been pretty good about meditating, working out, blogging, cooking reasonably well-rounded meals, and answering work email, but I keep "forgetting" to turn off the Internet for chunks of time so that I can focus on real writing.
I am better at the fun rituals. I've been watching friends' cracked out online videos, taking an afternoon "nap," voting on my favorite blog's annual worst fashion of the year bracket, and reading a lot of YA books by Maureen Johnson. At sunset, I make a cocktail and walk to the top story of the building, where there's a view of the sky. I look at the blinking clock on the torre latinoamerica and I survey Calle Isabel la Catolica to see if there's any discernible decline in pedestrian traffic. After that, things get really exciting as Poodles and I abandon our respective solo activities to eat dinner and watch one episode of ALF dubbed into Spanish.
I feel like I should be doing something grand. I feel like I should be focusing and kicking ass. But maybe it's okay that I'm just keeping my head above water and trying to enjoy myself? I don't know.
Tell me about your routines...What is the difference between routine and habit, routine and ritual? What keeps you sane? What keeps you entertained?