Is it Monday yet? TGIM! (Writing-Fitness balance: on changing routines.)

This week, I let go of my Monday evening workout. It was hard. I’d been doing that class for over three years… Monday/Wednesday kickboxing, non-negotiable.

You know how I feel about routines, and you know how I feel about kickboxing. This decision was not easy.

But it was a long time coming. I looked at my 2016 planner and saw that I’d been thinking about it since early November… because I’d just tried BodyPump, which is weight-training, which I’d spent a year trying and failing to do on my own. I finally realized that nothing was stopping me from going to a twice-weekly morning Pump class. It was life-changing. It got me thinking about re-vamping my entire workout schedule.

I did it slowly, starting with switching out Saturday morning kickboxing for Saturday morning Pump. I wanted three strength-training workouts per week, rather than two.

Then I had a few Monday evenings off when the Monday kickboxing class was between instructors, and I realized what Monday really is, now: it’s my favorite day of the week. My best workday. The ideal day to stay home all day and get shit done.

Monday has become my “third weekend-day,” my working-weekend day, my relaxed yet productive transition into the week. It’s my bubble of creative energy day. It’s my fresh-start day. I wake up filled with anticipation and ready to get ALL the ideas down. I’m writing before I even get out of bed on Monday mornings. I can multi-task all day on Mondays, no problem.

I realized that it’s TGIM around here, not TGIF. I had to make changes accordingly!

Easier said than done.

Since I’m slow to see things that are right before my eyes, I first had to have this argument with myself. (We all do this, right? Argue with ourselves, weigh pros and cons, etc.?)

Here’s how my argument went:

  • Monday is my best workday now.
  • And?
  • Leaving the house on Monday interrupts my best workday.
  • Why not just stay home on Mondays?
  • Because it’s Monday. I have to go to the gym.
  • Why?
  • Because it’s Monday.
  • Really.
  • I always go to the gym on Monday.
  • Okay, but why?
  • It’s what I do! Kickboxing on Mondays and Wednesdays!! I love it!!!
  • That’s not a real reason.
  • Because… I need at least two cardio workouts per week.
  • Can you find an alternate day for the Monday cardio?
  • Well, yes. Fridays or Sundays would work.
  • Then do it.

End of argument. Why had I been reluctant – even afraid – to give up Monday evening workouts? Because changing a routine is scary when your mental health depends on the stability routines provide. But I was able to work through it.

I’ve had my boxing gloves hanging up in my office, and now that’s metaphorical as well as practical. I hung up my Monday night gloves for writing.

 

Writing-training balance: boxing gloves hanging in my office (along with my hats and kukui nut lei)

 

The process of making this decision turned out to be a good exercise (pun not intended), so I thought I’d share it with you who may also have a hard time making changes to your routines.

I followed this thought-path:

  • Recognize (when something isn’t working anymore.)
  • Think (of how to fix it.)
  • Detach (to make it easier.)
  • Consider solutions/alternatives.
  • Wait for the immediate “obstacles” to come to mind, because they will… then
  • think beyond them.
  • Think creatively.
  • Do this by asking yourself questions and answering honestly.

Some people would call this “Follow your heart.” Others would call it “Adjust your thinking.” I call it “Wake up and realize that you’re the only one stopping yourself from making changes in order to do what you need to do… you can do it.”

Making changes isn’t easy for we who need routine in order to keep ourselves stable; routine is necessary, but it can also be an impediment. It makes it hard to see when change is needed.

Now I just need to discipline myself to get my ass to the gym to do cardio on my own. That shouldn’t be difficult.

 

“Never a dull moment,” indeed!

To avoid naming names of people, places or institutions, I invite you to imagine the following scenario:

You work at a place where brilliant, creative people – artist-musician-dancer-engineer crossbreeds – make cool things.

So you’re on your way to work one day, and when you get to your destination street, you see a bunch of cops and emergency vehicles crowded around the upcoming intersection. You think nothing of it. This is America. A clusterf*ck of cops and emergency vehicles is not an unusual sight.

You get upstairs to your meeting. Most everyone’s already there, except for the person leading the meeting. Then he calls someone in the room to say that he’s been delayed a few minutes, go ahead and get the meeting started.

He finally enters the room, replete with casual yet apologetic haste. He’s late, he explains, because he’d encountered an “incident” on his way in that “involved one of our people,” so he stopped and talked to the detectives to help sort it all out.

Uh….

It turns out that “one of our people” had left his cool-thing-in-progress on the street momentarily, but in that moment (of course), a passer-by found it. Police cars, fire engines and bomb squads arrived. In the end, the authoritative involvement included two cities. The intersection remained closed off for several hours, diverting traffic. News reporters entered the fray. Also, implementing communications safety procedures developed in the aftermath of tragedies at several universities in the nation, university officials alerted the entire community of students, faculty and staff on their cell phones, cautioning everyone to stay inside until an “all clear” was issued.

All because our guy’s project – a kind of animated sculpture resembling a round device with lights and flexible parts and whatnot, I don’t know exactly what – had been left in a box next to a parking meter, an unfortunate happenstance. What are the odds? And what are the odds that the exact person who could un-kerfuffle the whole thing happened to stroll through that intersection on his way to our meeting?

If you can imagine all this, you’ll know I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have an exceptionally un-boring job, as far as office jobs go. (It’s especially impossible to be bored when you go home to another creative genius.)

And on that note, I’m off to get ready for the day, which begins with taking Callaghan’s father to the airport. We’d capped off his visit from France with a side-trip to California to spend time with my parents over the holiday (Memorial Day) weekend. Our month of hosting house-guests has wound down to an end! It was fun, but I have to admit, it’s good to get back to a routine. I like routines.

 

The Ronnie James routine.

The Ronnie James routine.

 

So does the Wrah-Wrah.

Transitions! (New Schedule)

I’ve been inconsistent here these last few weeks as I’ve been adjusting to a new schedule, namely, having one again.

 

My agenda (Franklin-Covey)

My agenda (Franklin-Covey)

 

Naturally cut out for a structured life, I thrive in the rootedness that routine provides. Living with a crazy spontaneous artist has been a healthy counter-balance to this, but I’m happy to resume the habit of setting the alarm and getting out of the house by a certain time in the mornings. This has required re-calibration of my inner clocks, which have been at liberty to run amok for a long time now, it seems!

While I personally enjoy mapping out my day, it’s been a while since I’ve done it on a regular basis, so being able to ease back into the practice as my current circumstances allow has been a fortunate thing.

My inner clocks are usually in need of re-calibration, anyway. For one thing, they often tick at odds with other peoples’ inner clocks. I’m remembering how my X had been put-upon by my middle-of-the-night inner clock when it would clang, “YAY ENERGY!!! IT’S PAST MIDNIGHT – NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO CLEAN THE BATHROOM!!”

“I just don’t understand it,” he’d mutter with annoyance, pillow half over his head as I whizzed around (though silently, ninja-like, so I never really understand why it bothered him) with the all-purpose spray cleaner. “It’s like you get a second burst of energy in the middle of the night.”

“Energy” was the operative word, I guess. He was sensitive to the energies of others; regardless of my earnest attempts at silence, the underlying waves of my stirred-up, midnight oil energy disturbed his own sleep schedule. The poor guy had a hard time getting me to sleep “early,” but over time he did manage to cure me of my inability to resist the urge to clean things at 2:00AM.

Now, I hardly clean at all.

See how that works? My X had to put up with me cleaning the bathroom in the middle of the night. Now, Callaghan has to put up with me not cleaning. (I exaggerate. Of course I clean… every once in a while. He cleans the bathroom more often than I do, though.)

In my defense, I don’t think I ever actually planned to clean the bathroom in the middle of the night. It always started rather innocuously. I’ll just wipe this area here around the sink. Then, since I’m doing that, I might as well do the mirror. A process would emerge. Next thing I knew, the whole bathroom would be underway.

Where my X had to deal with my late-night cleaning inclinations, Callaghan has to deal with my late-night, over-active train of thought. Such as it is that he’s established what he calls the “11:00PM Rule,” meaning, he’s placed a moratorium on “thinking about things” at 11PM. That’s right… 11:00PM is Last Call for “freaking out” at our place. “Otherwise, you wouldn’t ever sleep,” he says, reasonably.

And it’s true… I’ve had a hard time falling asleep for years now. Recently, too, this all changed, but not because of the 11:00PM Rule. The change just happened to coincide with when I started oil-pulling exactly two weeks ago. Somehow, I haven’t experienced insomnia since Day One of experimentation with that ancient and now-trendy practice. This was not an effect I’d anticipated when I started. It’s been completely wonderful.

 

My alarm clock. It's 11:00PM!

My alarm clock. It’s 11:00PM!

 

Anyway, all of this to say that my schedule has changed, including my writing schedule here… I’m in a transition phase, and things will even out eventually!