Routine. The word brings nothing but negative connotations to mind. Living to the clock. Early to rise, early to bed. Strict semi-militant regime. Self-dicipline.
And yet… And yet. Here I am, approaching my thirty-first birthday, and at this time in my life, I’m trying to set up a routine — yes, a routine — to my daily life. What on Earth is going on?
It all started very innocuously: I decided it was time to take some long-term health issues to my doctor. It turned out to be a pretty good decicion; for the first time in my life, a headache no longer means a day in bed with my brains trying to crawl out of my ears — yay for migraine meds! — and all sorts of tests have been made regarding cholesterole (very good, thank you very much), blood sugar, theroid hormone, etc. levels. My eyesight has been checked — near perfect with a slight tendency to squint — and I’m on my way to see a nutritional therapist about my diet. Even old trouble with my ‘bad ankle’ is being returned to, and I’ve already been to a physiotherapist about a long-term problem with my back.
And therein begins the real trouble! As it turns out, for years and years I’ve suffered from a very commonplace problem with the lower vertebra, which is moving sideways where it shouldn’t be able to do so. The good news is that it can be fixed, along with (hopefully) the back pains. The bad news is that it involves … you guessed it: regular exercises. So here I am, honestly trying to strenghten my deeper stomach muscles by sticking to a some twice-daily exercises. AIEEEEK!! Routine!
OK, so I’m dramatising the issue just a little. Sue me.
But that’s not all, naturally. I’ve been putting off working on my thesis for several months (because of issues I’ll no doubt return to in later posts), but as my mental health seems to be on the mend — at least for now — it’s come time to start work again. As you may have gathered from the beginning of the post (or, if you know me at all), I’m religiously set against mornings. Mornings are evil. The only way you’ll catch me enjoying a nice sunrise is if I’ve yet to go to bed at all. Therefore, working on my thesis from the time I wake up is simply impossible. It has been tried and while you may be able to plant me at the computer from the-time-of-my-awakening-which-for-the-purposes-of-simplicity-we’ll-call morning on, but I will be unable to produce anything worthwhile for hours to come. I’m not too bothered about this; I know myself well enough to realise that should I want to produce quality work (and enjoy it), it’s best not to start work before at around three in the afternoon.
That leaves me with the productivity void in the morning. Oh woe. Well. A long time ago, when I lived in Korea, my sumukhwa — ink painting — teacher told me that I have potential to become a master ink painter if I just practice ten minutes a day. I thought it was terribly nice of her, especially since I’d never done any ink painting before I took that course. The strange thing about ink painting is (and yes, I will definitely return to this topic later on) that it requires a certain kind of a mindset. I like to think of it as zen. To produce the kind of line that is required for good brushmanship, whether it is calligraphy or painting, my mind has to be void of all kinds of other thoughts. To cut it short, I can only do good ink painting … in the morning.
And there you have it. I now have a morning routine of exercises and ink painting. Then I do whatever needs to be done (library and pharmacy trip, today) until I’m good to go with the thesis project. I work on it for as long as I have the drive, the inspiration, until my wrist screams or until Mugen (my computer) decides to go all sulky due to all the physical and verbal abuse I put him through in the process. My evening then consists of whatever I should want to do, and my evening exercises.
Damn it. It’s almost like I’m a real adult. I’m sure this system won’t hold for too long…