There’s nothing quite like waking up on the Tuesday after a long holiday weekend only to realize you still have two days off. That’s right, TWO MORE DAYS! I extended my three day weekend into a five day (!!!) weekend and put in for a little extra time off this week. I’ve been needing it recently and nothing demonstrated that more than my recent urgent care trip due to a lingering head and ear ache. So instead of going to sleep with the traditional ‘Sunday Scaries’ (or in this case ’Monday Scaries’) last night, I stayed up a little later watching Stranger Things and dozed off with the comfort of knowing the next day had absolutely nothing on the agenda other than whatever I decided to put on it. And what a great day off it’s been.
As a result of all this extra ‘time’ and not necessarily a whole lot of solidified ‘plans,’ my mind has had time to wander, to dream, to contemplate and think freely today. Now if you’ve been following me for a while you know that I absolutely love a morning and a nighttime routine. However, like the Gemini that I am, I also love a little spontaneity and unexpected moments of play and serendipity in my day. For example, this morning I allowed myself the luxury of sleeping in until I absolutely needed to get up and get dressed for my morning workout. Lately I’ve been getting up well before my alarm to allow enough time to complete my morning journaling so as not to have to rush through it following my workout. This morning was the rare occurrence in which I didn’t stress about that, I had time after all. Plenty of it.
When I got home from my workout I dove head first in to my traditional Monday through Friday routine - showering, getting dressed, prepping my coffee, sitting down to read my news, etc. I had done just about everything when I quickly realized I actually hadn’t completed my morning pages. Shoot! That’s right, I didn’t do them prior to my morning sweat like I normally do.
I dashed to the other room and grabbed my notebook, felt a slight twinge of anxiety as I realized it was already almost 11am and I still had my writing to do! Which usually takes at least 30 minutes. But it’s almost time for me to head upstairs and sit at my computer…Wait…Sit at my computer??? Today’s my day off though…Right, right. There was absolutely no need for me to rush through this sacred part of my morning ritual. I had nothing pressing other than this task right in front of me. While I had a lengthy to-do list filled with things I wanted to accomplish over the next couple of days, nothing had to get done in that moment or the one immediately after in fact. I could (and should!) allocate the proper time and reverence to completing my morning writing.
It’s made me reflect on the power of our minds and the weight we place on certain things in our lives because of the associations we’ve prescribed to them. For example, my morning routine. Only Monday through Friday do I complete such a structured and formal morning routine in the fashion in which I do. On the weekends, each morning looks different and I allow myself to luxuriate in the spontaneity and the freedom that those two days off from work provide. Therefore, I ascertain my morning routine to a work day. Even if it’s not a work day like today for example.
I’ll give you another example. My coffee cup. I use the same coffee cup Monday through Friday. I fill it up at the same time, with the same coffee and non-dairy creamer to be enjoyed throughout my work day. Today I made the conscious decision to use a different coffee cup. Why? Well, because it’s not a work day. I didn’t want to have the mental association of drinking the coffee I love so much in that particular cup. The one filled with the liquid that otherwise provides me mental clarity and fuel during my traditional work week.
Lastly, my office space. Truthfully, this is one I want to work on but today I didn’t even want to cross the threshold of my office let alone think about doing it. The room that houses my desk and my computer and therefore the space that my brain has equated to work. Monday through Friday, 9am to who knows when, work. I didn’t want to walk into a room in my house because it represents something that I’m taking a break from for the next two days. Something I so desperately need a break from.
I say I want to ‘work on it’ when it comes to my office space because I want to curate an environment that sparks creativity and innovative thinking. A space where I travel to in my quest to develop a new idea, project or thought, not one that feels like a dungeon where I hole myself away for hours on end to affirm the fact that I deserve a paycheck that month. Like I said, I need to work on that association.
Overall it’s been a thought-provoking realization for me to come to today on the first of two extra days off. I’m not sure the answer here, nor if I’m necessarily seeking one, I guess we don’t always have to be, but I am sure of the capabilities of our mind. Its ability to associate various objects, spaces, etc. with memories, feelings and intentions. Whether they be good or bad. They’re there.
This reflection today has of course made me pause and contemplate the associations I want to build, curate and foster as related to the integral spaces, rituals and things in my own life and routines. It’s also made me reflect on the ease with which we can alter objects and circumstances shrouded in ‘negativity,’ and redirect our emotions accordingly. For example, going back to my coffee cup. As silly as that may seem, changing my coffee cup drastically improved my mood this morning. Instead of engaging in my traditional coffee pouring routine that occurs Monday-Friday, I changed it up. I reached for a new cup in the cupboard and my entire outlook changed. I went from accepting this last step in my normal morning routine before heading to my office, to celebrating it as the start of a new morning routine. One that began a day that could really be anything I wanted it to be!
I urge you to take pause and think about the things in your own life, whether they be rooms in your house or objects you frequently interact with, that you’ve assigned specific emotional connotations to. Whether they be good or bad. What are the associations you’ve assigned to that particular thing or space? Would you like to change them? If so, why? How would you like to change them? It’s never too late for these little changes to make big impacts in our daily lives. Take it from me, sometimes it’s as simple as swapping out your coffee mug…