Why is it I can’t set up a healthy schedule as my doctor suggests? Am I just lazy? Or am I missing some microchip that makes me want to take the chaos out of my life? My doctor says – and many other experts agree - that the healthy lifestyle requires a regular daily schedule. Exercise at the same time every day, eat breakfast at the same time every day, have some routine in your life. My life could not be farther from this ideal if I tried.
For example. On my way to the store to buy the youngest some birthday presents yesterday, the eldest called to say she was at the train station. In town? I asked. Yes! She said. Now this daughter lives in New York city, of which we are a suburb, and don’t get me wrong, I was delighted at the news she was in town, but I had no idea she was coming! My kids like to spring things on me. So off to the train station I went to pick her up, abandoning this particular shopping errand for another day, and instead to the grocery store, for now a real dinner was in order, since Arriving Daughter said she had specifically come home to “eat real food.” (The pressure!)
The next morning, I was all ready to drive the youngest to school at 7 a.m. as I do every morning, with big plans to go to the gym right after, but . . . Surprise! It’s exam week. Not going to school until 10:00. Hmm. Race to the gym now? No. Exams require real food of the breakfast variety. Off to the kitchen.
This is typical, and constant, in my family. It’s “normal,” for us. We are a creative bunch, writers and actors all, and some say that chaos fosters creativity. But some days I wonder if it isn’t rather the other way around, and we might do well to reign it in a little. Somehow I know that I need a schedule, some way to manage this constant change, this chaos and whim, as Annie Dillard very wisely put it:
“A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.”
It doesn’t sound so bad when you look at it like that. I need to weave my net for catching days and build my scaffolding. I think I’ll start with a whiteboard, but you know, I think I’ll call it a canvas.