Do you ever catch yourself thinking somebody else's habit sounds at best uninteresting, only to find yourself with the exact same habit somewhere down the road? As the Norwegians say, that's meeting yourself at the door. And I have done just that.
Several years ago, another single co-worker told me about his morning routine, of setting the breakfast table and lighting a candle to enjoy his morning coffee and newspaper by. So guess what I've been doing lately? Yeah, I light a candle, and have breakfast and wait for the morning paper. OK, not quite the same routine, but pretty close.
I wrote earlier about needing morning routines and as I went about waking up to my alarm clock, reading a daily meditation, getting up and turning the radio on in the kitchen, preparing a bowl of oatmeal and a soft-boiled egg, and lighting the candle, it dawned (no pun intended) on me that I had a morning routine. So for about 45 minutes I listen to the news, maybe thumb through the newspaper (I can't read and listen at the same time), and eat well. The rest of the routine is to wash and dress and do my hair and make-up. I found myself ready to leave the house at 7:45 am today. Whoo! Now to keep that routine going.
I notice I wake up earlier on the weekends, meaning my body has gotten used to a 6 am alarm, so I have achieved that routine, which helps. I know 6 am sounds early, but I need that sort of time in the morning. I can't rush through breakfast and I seem to take longer in the bathroom than I used to. There is a corresponding evening routine: I try to avoid screens an hour before going to bed, I shower in the evening but not right before bedtime, and I allow myself time to read in bed. I prefer to be in bed by 10 pm. A comment on avoiding screens: Sitting at the computer just before bedtime makes me wide awake, same thing with playing Sudoku on my PDA. Watching TV just before bedtime is not as bad as computer use, but it must be light fare; no "C.S.I.", for example, but "America's Funniest Home Videos" works fine. Ideally, I should be winding down by washing off my make-up, taking my vitamins, doing my dishes - that sort of thing.
I may have to start adding more candles to my breakfast table. All summer long, I can do dishes in the evening or read the newspaper in the morning without turning on any lights. Last night, at around 8:30 pm, I went to do my dishes and discovered I had to turn the lights on. Well, I can live with that. What'll be harder is getting up in total darkness in the morning and walking to work in that same darkness. Oh, well. After the dark season comes another light one.