I could have a photo for this post. I was sitting outside the Electric last night, in a prime spot with a glass of cold Sauvignon blanc, looking into the setting sun and thinking it would make a nice photograph to share on social media. Then I thought that was a pathetic thought, and besides I'm following the advice of the Moment app to cut down on my phone use. I now regret not taking the picture, as I could have put it here by way of illustration. I wouldn't put it on Facebook as it's not representative of my life. I haven't been out in ages. And the thought of taking a photo struck me as underlining my aloneness. I was not alone for long: the other people came and I had a most pleasant evening. I felt vindicated in my decision not to go out on Saturday night (although I'm still sorry for not cancelling officially).
The evening was pleasant but slightly trying as there was only one person there I know, and I had not met him in some years. So it was making conversation in a way. I stayed until ten past ten, as I had driven in and could have only the one glass of wine. (Nothing is worth it, I told myself as I was tempted to go for a second. Nothing is worth it).
I got up late this morning. 8.40. So much for the Miracle Morning, but in my defence I am doing the opposite of most participants. I am endeavouring to transform myself from lark to night owl. This is temporary and when it comes to September, my lark qualities will once more stand me in good stead. The reason I don't set an alarm in the mornings is to get into the habit of rising later so that I can stay out later, and also be less likely to avoid/cancel evening events on the grounds of fatigue. I'll have the whole Autumn, Winter and Spring to be getting up at half-six.
I did my morning writing and then it was with a jolt that I saw the notification for my gym class at half-nine so I got ready straight away and left (I like a particular spot, on the right of the room, near the back). I called to Wilton Shopping Centre afterwards and bought only the one thing I had gone there for. and this meant it was gone eleven by the time I meditated. And I have yet to do my morning reading and it is after lunch-time now. This is the holidays though, and this is all good. The gym class was a big fat entry under "E" for exercise so more than worth any perturbation to my routine.
I was thinking this morning how crucial routines are, and how helpful I am finding mine. There is a lot to be said for monasticism and there is a reason so many of the best schools are also religious institutions. There is a rhythm to the day and minor decisions are minimised. The Steiner pre-school I once visited had the same idea. Every day is unique, but every day is the same, and paradoxically it is the sameness that facilitates the uniqueness. A bit like the pupils themselves: by treating them all the same we allow them to flourish as individuals. That's an unpopular opinion. "I don't need to give you special treatment for you to be special." And routines is a good example of something that helps some kids especially (the autistic kids or those with ADHD) but is simultaneously good for everyone. I think sometimes that I have ADHD. My school reports used to say I was a daydreamer. I was always losing my stuff, and to this day I find keeping track of paperwork a huge challenge. This is one reason I hate the new Junior Cycle; the admin demands on teachers are rising exponentially. I also dream about having my own classroom. Maybe in the near future....It is possible. The answer to this is routines and systems. The more routine the more spontaneity is possible. This is a revelation to me, but one of those things that is obvious to most people. I used to feel I was just disorganised, as if "organised" were a character trait and not a simple adjective.