Posted on June 26, 2016
Schedules and Routines
It has been three weeks since we began what I am calling our Great American Road Trip 2016. Bean has adjusted well to the road. I feel that I have as well. I remember hearing retirees say that they don’t know how they had the time to do all of the things that they needed to do when they were working. I resemble that remark.
Being on the road, everything is different. It is as if my old life has melted away into the past. I have quickly forgotten what it was like to get up at 4:30 AM and begin my day. The necessity of being at a certain location at a certain time is practically non existent in this new life…and it is disconcerting.
The first week on the road, we spent in a small suburban community. It was the perfect location to sit on the porch and contemplate what comes next. What is important in terms of a routine and what can I leave to chance? Every week, it seems a little different. For someone who planned out every hour of every day and every day of every week, to suddenly have no pressing agendas is slightly stressful. I need to constantly think about what is important to Bean. What I want her to remember. What I want her learn. What I want her to take into adulthood. Being a minimalist, the list isn’t very long. The problem is organizing a day around it.
So far, we being on the road three weeks, we have seen many family members. We have lived the daily life of first cousins, shared the vacation of extended family members, and had a few days alone while other family worked. This makes a set schedule difficult. I have seriously thought about just throwing all of my ideas out of the window and just letting Bean run wild. Then I think of the ordeal I will face when the summer is over. I would rather figure out somethings now and Bean seems to prefer knowing that even though our surroundings may vary, there are a few set events we will always complete together.
The most important are:
Mealtimes– As easy as it would be to let Bean fend for herself and eat whatever she wants, I know that mealtime is important. We always sit together for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even if it is easier to walk around and eat, to stand and eat or just grab something and eat in front of the t.v., we find a place to sit and eat together. We talk about whatever crosses our mind, or rather, Bean talks about what is on her mind and I listen. She loves to tell the three humped camel joke from Zootopia and can repeat it all day long. Though it is hard to do in so many different environments, I try to disconnect all outside media and focus on each other.
Learning– Bean is working on improving her reading and I don’t want to fall behind in mine. This has been a real challenge as everyone we are around knows so many good movies and television shows that we haven’t seen yet. They also have different screen rules than I do for Bean. Bean would love nothing more than to sit in front of the television all day or on a computer. I know that once she starts, she will not get off without a fight. Saying ‘No’ repeatedly all day long isn’t easy, but I have watched Bean use her imagination to amuse herself more and more in the last few weeks. When we were at home in Chicago, I would think that it was never going to happen as she followed me around the house. I am excited to see it happening daily while on the road.
We spend sometime together every day reading or writing together. Bean enjoys doing copy work from her great big book of reading. She will then read what she has written. She has also attempted to write what she has done during the day. It is comical and a great exercise for her. I am resisting the feeling that I am being antisocial if I choose to read my books instead of watching trash t.v. I have finished a couple of books on the road and I have a list of other books that I am eager to read. It has been a joy to share a love of books with other family members and add books from their list to mine.
Naps– A nap is a great day extender. I have noticed that before and I am putting it into practice now. Bean is aware of how she feels with a nap versus when she doesn’t have one. She isn’t always willing to rest for a short time, but once she does, she behaves so much better. I thought at first I would use her nap time as my personal time. I have discovered that I too enjoy a nap. Every weekend in Chicago, I took a nap and loved it. Every day that I get a nap on our road trip, I am more eager to get out and explore.
Exercise– The number one activity that Bean looks forward to every day is our walk. We ask family members to join us, sometimes they do, sometimes we go alone. Every time we take a walk, we discover something new. This is what I enjoy the most. We have seen the mulberry trees that were so common in Chicago. We stopped and ate as many as we could find that were ripe. We have seen coconuts on the ground and up in the trees. We have counted the many lizards/geckos that we see. We saw black ducks with red beaks, three little dogs walking by themselves on their way home. We have stopped to throw rocks into the river, and ran down the street when a dog has tried to jump the fence. Every day it is a new adventure when we go out for our daily walk.
While it does give me some stress not knowing what time of the day is best to go for a walk or when is the best time to read with Bean, when should I write or when I should make phone calls, I have discovered living in the present. I knew in my spirit that getting out of my daily routine would be the best way to live in the present. Actually getting out of a routine and seeing the myself embrace the present has been the best gift of the road so far. There is something about being on a journey to interact and connect with family, friends and their environment that has removed the burden of the past and the weight of the future from my mind. I am enjoying the moments as I get them.
I know that you want to know where we are and what we are doing. I will begin that update in my next post. We have had some great times and I want to share them with you. I will also be updating our YouTube channel regularly so that you can share some of the pictures and videos we like the most. Till then, tell me, what do you do without a need for a schedule? How do you feel?