On routine and noticing

Yesterday, the sun was still out at 5:06pm. My weather app showed me earlier that the sun will be setting by 5:34pm, so I knew, but noticing the sun and feeling its last bits of warmth on my skin as I locked the door and walked into the street filled me with hope. I was leaving for the gym, just like I have been doing most Mondays. By December, as the days got shorter and the overhead lights replaced the sun naturally illuminating the workout studio, I knew what was coming. One ordinary day, as I was rushing out my door for class, I realized it was already dark. It filled me with dread and hopelessness; I had no choice but to accept another winter, it’s seemingly endless cold, gloomy, dark days. To self-soothe I complained to anyone who would listen that I couldn’t believe we do this every year, and their knowing nods, understanding words made me feel better; I wasn’t alone.

And it would have been easy to use the darkness as an excuse to cancel my membership and hibernate all winter: Who would judge? But it didn’t even occur to me. By then, I was too deep into my Monday routine, and the class has become my saving grace. Every Monday, I would patiently bid my time all day, feeling anxious and restless, until I got to sweat out whatever ill the weekend prior brought on; the bad decisions, another weekend wasted on everything else but, the loneliness that reared its ugly head every Sunday night.

So, yesterday, when I noticed the sun was still out, staring into its blinding light in awe, soaking up the remainder of its warmth for the day, I instantly felt lighter. All the anxiety and despair of another week ahead disappeared. I knew better things were coming. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not even next week, but I heard nature whispering to me that I will be alright, that my favourite season, spring, is on its way. Summer surely will follow. The days will be so long, I will be sunshine-drunk well into the evening. It also made me happy that I have my Monday late-afternoon routine. Not only does it allow me to spend two hours without the internet, between commute and class, but it also lets me notice things- the passage of time, the change of seasons.

Years back, when I first experimented with giving up my phone completely- way before phones became a bloodline to our living- noticing was the first thing I noticed. It was fall, and I noticed the leaves changing colours; slowly, then all at once. I noticed them accumulate on the side walks, the whoosh, whoosh sound getting louder, crunchier, with each passing day, until it all wilted with the wet, cold winter. I wondered what was I looking at the year before, when fall came and went, and the one before that too. I was looking, but distracted by my phone, I couldn’t notice. Sure, the phones are smart and can tell us what is happening outside. It is a miracle to know the hour by hour details of the weather from a portable device we carry with us everywhere. But there is something so beautiful to me about letting the daily routine be the reminder of the outside world, feel the weather change, witness the days getting longer again, and know better days are just around the corner.

Until next time,

Sign up for my curated weekly newsletter, time spent offline, on spending less time online and (re)discovering the pleasures of the offline world. Five ideas delivered right to your inbox. Every Tuesday.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s