The new routine is no routine. I need to remember that when the next few weeks tempt me to think there is a routine again.
Since the start of the year -- after many years of starting work in the morning and going into the late afternoon or early evening -- I've gone to an ever-changing schedule that is all over the place. The first two or three months it was mostly 2 or 4 p.m. to midnight. Then it was a few months of basically 2-10, 2-12, 2-6, 12-8 and 3 pm-1 am, Monday through Friday. In June it went to Sunday through Thursday, except when I wasn't needed on Sunday, so I worked Friday.
A mid-June vacation without a schedule fit right in with the confusion, and the vacation was punctuated by pulling an all-nighter for Relay for Life.
And now I'm working days again, noon to 8, which in the past would have seemed normal but now is just another change before going to a month of 10-6 Monday through Friday, unless something different is needed. And that will be for just a month, and then it will probably be back to the afternoon to night shifts.
What I am so aware of is that even when -- or especially when -- my work schedule lacks routine, it is imperative for me to build structure and maintain discipline in my life. Patterns of eating, sleeping, exercising, reading, praying and meditating are important. Most days I keep a pretty specific list of what I need to do and when. I went through a period this month of viewing that as a weakness. But today as I walked, after waking up on target after a within-range amount of pillow time, I embraced my list and willingness to use it as a strength.
As I was walking, I thought of my Dad, whose life example includes all kinds of work schedules, including true graveyard shifts. He and lots of people, including one of my sisters, have often worked far from ideal schedules. Their examples remind me to do whatever it takes to make it work for me. For me, that includes keeping it healthy, which is probably why it is more of a challenge, because keeping it healthy requires discipline for me.
That also made me think of Daddy's newest thing. A couple of days each week, he'll be going into town for pulmonary therapy. Why? To continue to build up his strength. He wants to be as healthy as he can be, even at 85. I am proud and inspired.
I sometimes wish my life were more routine or automatic. It seems as if what comes naturally for me is to do nothing. (I had some thoughts about that, too, while I walked today, that renewed my hope that I can change.) I'm grateful that I keep fighting that instinctive inertia.