Today was the first day back.
After sleeping nearly 'round the clock last night, ZBoy returned to school today. He was actually looking forward to it, even though he was making protesting noises. That's all they were. Noises. I think he was beginning to get a little bored with all that free time.
I drove to work through the fog, practically bouncing in my seat in anticipation of walking through those doors again. I too, would make protesting noises but it would all be noise. In reality, I love my job and nearly two weeks off gave me just the break I needed to come back refreshed and raring to go. I banged out logs, began gathering information for various reports due at the end of the week, filled out timesheets and retrieved an armload of mail and videotapes from the mailroom. My office is my home away from home and the one place that is truly MINE. I was happy to see it again.
All of this had me ruminating on routine.
From babyhood, routine is very important. It sets up your expectations about how your life is going to go and helps you feel safe because you know what happens next. That doesn't rule out surprises or vacations, but on the whole, a routine life is necessary to happiness, health, and well-being.
Going to bed and getting up at a certain time. Drinking enough water. Getting exercise on a regular basis. Using your mind everyday. Keeping your environment clean and comfortable.
Sometimes, there is comfort and joy in setting up new routines or returning to old ones.
Monday, I went for a bike ride. My last day of "freedom" and I went for a ride. I EXERCISED. I loaded up my bike and drove down to the bike trail. It's the first time I've actually ridden on my own in a few years (and not dragging some cement child while saying "Wow, this is fun! Aren't you having a good time?").
I unloaded the bike, got on and started pedaling. Sheer heaven - for five minutes. Then my muscles started complaining. I'd gone 1.5 miles. I persisted until I got to the Little League Park where I stopped, got off, stretched my legs and raised my seat about 3/4 of an inch. Then I got back on and started riding back towards my car.
Raising the seat made a huge difference. On the way back, I felt like I was flying - a very familiar feeling on the seat of a bike for me. I arrived back at the trailhead slightlly sweaty and out of breath but feeling wonderful and a bit abashed.
You see, I rode maybe 6 miles total. If you're not used to riding, that may seem like a lot, but for me - who used to bike commute 30 miles in a day, it was a wimpy showing. I was quite dismayed that I had gotten so far out of shape (the holidays did NOT help). However, I was satisfied that I'd done as much as I needed to do that day and the next time I might make it as far as Woodville-proper. And later, as far as my old neighborhood, then finally making the trip all the way to St. Marks and back. I won't manage that in a week or possibly even a month - but I will manage it again. I WANT to manage that again. And in order to do what I want, I need to make myself a routine that regularly includes riding my bike for some distance.
See, routines don't just get you what you need. Sometimes they show you the way to your heart's desire.