Thursday, July 23, 2009

daily practices

I am such a creature of habit, which I find both a good and a bad thing. Once I adopt a routine, you can be certain that I will stick with it. I don't quit anything easily, even when it's in my best interest to do so. I can count on one hand the number of books that I have started reading, but not finished. No matter how much I hate a book, I will almost always finish it, naively believing that it will get better. Despite my perpetual optimism, I usually end up disappointed with the book, and frustrated that I've wasted my time, but I can't seem to kick this habit.

Over the years, I've adopted a few daily practices that have become as routine for me as brushing and flossing my teeth before bedtime. One of my favorite practices, which began over 20 years ago, involves recounting each day's noteworthy items on a weekly calendar. It's not a diary, per se, although depending on the day and the level of drama associated with it, it could certainly be construed as a diary at times. I simply log the tasks, events, or emotions that stand out each day. Some days, it's simply a laundry list of my activities. On other days, I share my joy or sadness regarding a particular accomplishment, epiphany, or event. There are no rules for the content.

I prefer the soft, spiral-bound weekly calendars with a picture on one page and the seven days of the week on the facing page. This format includes limited space for journaling, but just enough room for the highlights. More in-depth stories that I'd like to remember were archived in diaries when I was younger, but are now usually posted on this blog. This task takes no more than two minutes each night before bed.

While you may think that many days are mundane, and there's not much worth remembering, I beg to differ. To use an old cliche, don't fail to see the forest for the trees. I live many more boring days than I'd like, where I do nothing but work, run errands, perform chores at home, and read (especially since I'm teetering on the edge of becoming a recluse). But the sheer delight of this 20-year-practice is to see the change and growth that has occurred over time. Although I don't do it as much as I used to, I take joy in skimming through my records of past years. Reliving and reflecting on one's good and bad decisions builds character. Sometimes revisiting the sad times helps me to see the growth that has occurred since then, and to better understand the myriad ways that prayers are answered. And the good times, well, who doesn't want to relive those occasionally?

Of course, these records are for my eyes only. How embarrassing if anyone else ever read them!

What practices do you engage in on a daily basis? Please share!


Katie said...

What a great ritual. That is something I wish I could do. Maybe I should start because my memory is failing me more and more.
I regret I don't have more routines. But I really don't stick with much.

Smiling Mama said...

I kept a calendar like this for Lucas's first year of life. Reading back through it, even this most mundane little events just amaze me. I will definitely do it again with this baby and definitely should start again for Lucas as well.

Sorry Sarah said...

I love this idea! What a great way to reflect on the day and truly cherish it. Also, thanks for stopping by and letting me know you're out there reading my blog. I enjoy stopping by yours as well. :)