My new schedule has been adjusting according to the biological clock and not by the demands of a graveyard shift schedule. Out of curiosity, I’ve been wanting to observe how this has affected my lifestyle and overall physical health. I’m wondering if this adjustment to very early wake ups has something to do with any karma I’ve done because of my decades of sleeping during the daytime. The pituitary gland and the gods of slumber have yet to be consulted on that point. One thing is factual, the time I awaken now is the time I used to retire for rest.
All I know for sure is that I’m really enjoying the novelty of awakening long before the sunrise. Even before the annoying chirping of robins begins. The world is dark and silent. This factor might be a concession to the peacefulness of night shift work. Working nights is still my overwhelming favorite.
On my own, rarely with the aid of an alarm clock, my eyes blink open at around 4:00AM. My room is still completely dark with the exception of a clock readout and my two glow in the dark dragons. (See the bluejayblog post for April 12, 2011 “Glow In The Dark”.) I climb out of the sack right away.
Next up is a short ten or 15-minute meditation in total darkness, not at my shrine. This is something to give me a calm foundation and a feeling of centeredness to set the tone for the day ahead. This is reinforced by a longer, formal meditation in the evening.
At exactly 4:50AM, I’m out the door and firing up the ol’ Camry. It’s time to hit the gym. For fun, I like to see if I can be the first gym rat inside the building when an employee unlocks the doors. I usually am at least once per week. I love to see which employees are chipper and upbeat and which ones are still groggy, wishing they were still under the covers at home.
What gave me the idea for this topic was when I was still on the street, nearly at the YMCA driveway. The same vehicles are in the process of arriving or have already parked at the same time I’m at about the same place on Benjamin Avenue. There’s a car like mine, except tan colored, parked under an overhead light fixture in the middle of the lot. A new white Nissan Stanza coming from the opposite direction turns into the driveway just before or slightly after my entry. A purple Chevy minivan is backing into a parking space in the west lot at that time. Each and every day the white Stanza has to wait for the minivan to park so that the car can get parked. These trivial events happen every single morning. A person could literally set his wristwatch to these things.
I witness this chain of events and laugh at the subtle humor. Then I laugh at myself, because I’ve become an integral part of that parade of vehicles, too.
After the workout, I head home for a light brunch. Afterwards, I post the day’s entry on the bluejayblog with hopes that you and others will find my musings somewhat worthwhile. When that is complete, I run errands and arrive at any job interviews that might be scheduled. The rest of the day is more or less unstructured. After all, I am now unofficially semi-retired.
Somewhere in the next few hours, I hunt through potential photos for this blog and copy them to file for final publishing. I then compose the next day’s text. I then edit and proofread it before saving it to file. It will then be published with the photos the next day after my workout. There are exceptions, like when something timely and topical happens. Then I treat this blog more like an exercise in feature journalism.
The blogging is an important routine because I hope that folks will not only read it, but will rate and give me feedback on style and content in the comments section. This is not an ego stroke. I hope to somehow incorporate writing into something that will help pay the rent and grocery bills. No feedback, no ratings, I don’t know where I stand. If I can make a request, I hope once in awhile to see something from you in the comments box.
Anyhow, we all have various routines. They usually include daily routines to get us through the workaday world. Perhaps you meditate formally at a shrine like I do or simply contemplate nature or have some other very personal, daily spiritual or meaningful practice as a routine.
There are weekly routines. Monthly routines and obligations. Not to forget the cycles of events we do each year. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and the like can fall into routines.
Are these good? Are they crutches and ruts we fall into as we get older? I think it depends upon circumstances and whether or not we are mindful of the how, what and when of our routines. They can be slightly humorous like the dance of vehicles in the YMCA parking lot at 5:00AM. Or they can just be actions done out of thoughtless habit.
I think it’s healthy to at least examine our routines on a regular basis.
I wonder if I’ll ever return to the routine of going to bed at 5:00AM. Time and circumstances will be crucial for that to happen.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the corny phrase, “The early bird gets the worm.” (There’s more to the quote, but it doesn’t come to mind right now.)