this, then that


So one of the challenges of making a change — in my case, most recently, transitioning to freelance work — is that everything, well, changes. Every little thing, that is. The past couple of weeks have been exhausting, not so much because of a new schedule or the new projects or some sort of longer-than-usual to do list, but because so many of the little things that marked time in my days for the past couple of years are no longer there, or at least there where they used to be. I feel a bit uprooted.

And I don’t know when to drink my second cup of coffee.

Because I used to have one cup of coffee while I got ready in the morning, while I showered and made sure kids were dressed and that the toast was toasted, and searched the laundry room for the other gray sock and searched under the pile of newspapers for the spelling worksheet, and then — if there was time — combed my hair. And then I had a second cup, usually carried to work in my favorite thermos, when I got into the office, as I greeted co-workers and started up for a usual day. In between, I usually rode my usual bus, which was filled with all the usual people and took the usual path. I held my thermos as I chatted or scrolled through the day’s headlines or just stared out the window while listening to music (usually the Jayhawks).

There isn’t a lot of usual in my day anymore, at least not yet. I am excited about my new venture, but I miss the comfort of the familiar — bus, thermos, path — that anchored my mornings and my days.

All of this has reminded me of the importance of rituals. Of having time in which we do this, and times in which we do that. This is something I’ve always felt and known. (Yes, I introduced myself to my freshman dorm-mates as the kind of person who likes to schedule time to be spontaneous. Everyone laughed. But I wasn’t joking.)

Part of making a change is re-imagining, recreating our daily rituals, around new demands and schedules and paths and choices. My challenge now is to not just do my new work and do it well, but also to do this re-imagining. It’s exciting and sorta hard and very necessary.

And it will take a little trial and error, and time, and patience, and also probably another cup of coffee … which I think I’ll have right now as I finish this and start working on what is next.