Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 32 seconds
I realized about two years ago that since I moved away from home when I was 17 years old I eschewed most structure I appeared to have had in my home life created by the presence of my family. This is odd to me as my mother never gave me a curfew, she never made me make my bed nor did I have to “check in” if I was going to stay out late on a weekday evening. Instead, to her, she had educated her children on the virtues of doing the right things and now these were our responsibility. It was understood that she would intervene only if it started to cause damage; faltering grades in school or some other notable decreased functioning in daily life. I always did well in school and didn’t exhibit any limitations in my life while living at home so my mother rarely questioned, criticized or intervened in my comings and goings. Hindsight, I’m not sure whether that did me a disservice. I appreciated the autonomy and that it encouraged me to learn self-sufficiency very early on in life. On the other hand, I’m not sure if a bit of structure and criticism would have balanced my perspective regarding controls and structure in my daily life. As a consequence, today much of my structure is borne out of necessity to find fulfillment in the completion of my goals.
I find my concept of daily ritual to be malleable often and fluctuates based on my calendar and mood. Of the things that happen every day they are usually based on the bare necessities of hygiene and survival–the lowest rung of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In the mornings, I frequently try to do a run-through of my day in my mind’s eye.
In the recent year I have also taken to drinking coffee as a daily habit. This is something that I was strictly and openly averse to many years. It developed from a social justice perspective for the coffee bean growers being financially abused by their own governments and foreign exporters. Now, with the proliferation of fair trade coffee (although I don’t personally like any coffee that has been labeled fair trade yet) and my need to stay alert at times of the day, I have acquiesced to drinking coffee and when available, maté. I’m sure at some point soon, I’ll limit my consumption and move to other natural supplements and foods to overcome any attentional deficits or low energy moments.
With so much changing in my life, I am finding it a good time to review and modify many of the habits. I have a list of my ideal daily rituals that I developed in the hopes of using it as a checklist; I call it my Weekly Schedule. I also use the UnSchedule, created by Dr. Neil Fiore in his book, The Now Habit, for producing a realistic view of my available working hours in a day. I’m curious to hear about others’ views and strategies/tactics for managing daily life.