“I recommend that people try new stuff or take new fitness classes all the time. It’s important to mix up your routine, not only for your body, but also for your mental state.” – Alison Sweeney
Routines can be beneficial. When I’m keeping to my exercise routine, I sleep better at night and worry less during the day. But routines can turn into drudgery.
Even though I generally enjoy cooking, I’d recently become bored with it. I thought, “Do I have to do this for the rest of my life? Constantly having to figure out what’s for dinner, go shopping, and cook?” I recognize my attitude was poor. After all, I have the means to buy food, enough time to shop and cook, and the option to eat out now and then.
My recent vacation came at a good time and improved my attitude. My husband Ken and I traveled to the southeast part of the United States. Getting away from my cooking routine for a couple of weeks was refreshing. We mostly stayed at B&Bs and ate dinner at restaurants. We walked every day and enjoyed boat rides, fresh scenery, and fun.
Magnolia Plantation – pic from https://c5.staticflickr.com/4/3211/2335006908_60f8f5509e_b.jpg
We stayed with friends for two nights, which was most enjoyable. David makes an art of homemaking, bringing his intelligence and other talents to making a delightful home for his wife Autumn, guests, and himself. He designed their house, which has private suites for guests, a screened-in porch, and a lovely view of woods and a river. David is also an awesome cook. He prepared mojitos, Cuban Pork with mole sauce, fried plantains, and peach cobbler for dinner one night. David’s adventurous cooking reignited my own interest in cooking.
During our trip, Ken and I went to a Worldwide Marriage Encounter convention, along with several of our friends. The convention took us out of our daily routine and renewed our marriage. (Conventions are for couples and priests who have already made a WWME weekend.)
All in all, our trip refreshed me and made me anxious to get home. The time away from my usual routines helped me decide to make the following changes:
- Condense papers I kept to prove I didn’t deserve being laid off a few years ago. I feel ready to let go of that and move on.
- My attitude about cooking has improved. Currently I am going through my cookbooks and deciding which to keep. (I love cookbooks and have only found two to discard so far.) I plan to pick a “Cookbook of the Week” and make a new recipe every week or so.
- Why not make old family favorites more often? I will bake “brown bread” soon, which is our name for a date-nut bread my grandmother used to make.
- At one of the B&Bs, breakfast was served outside on the porch. Back home, sometimes I bring my cup of tea outside and drink it on our patio, or I sit on our bench in front with something to read.
- I always have a stack of books from 2 or 3 libraries. But now I want to return the last couple of library books that I have and instead read the miscellaneous articles I have collected. Then I can clear out those papers, creating space for new things.
- I want to make the best of what we have. For example, we have an indoor fireplace and a small outdoor fire pit. Why not use them?
- I am inspired to put aside old negativity and treat cooking and homemaking as more of an art than drudgery. As Susan Branch says in her delightful blog, “Making a home for ourselves and our families does more for our general well-being and happiness than the everydayness of it might suggest; it’s second nature for most of us, because home is the place where love grows.”
Sometimes we live on autopilot and a change can help us see things from a fresh perspective.
Are your routines serving you? Where has drudgery crept in? How can you change your routines or your attitude?
Good post. Glad you enjoyed your trip south! Actually, you came to my neighborhood – Charleston, SC, where I’ve lived for over forty years now. When I came, I intended to stay for two years!
And thanks for the reminder about clearing out stuff. I SO need to declutter
Thanks so much, JoAnne. We loved Charleston. Stayed at Ashley’s B&B. We had two good seafood dinners in the area and lunch at a “Fast & French” café. (Can’t remember its official name.) Also went to Fort Sumter and the Magnolia Plantation and the Isle of Palms. I can see why you stayed!
It sounds like a great vacation, Sue! And your plan is inspiring! I am making similar changes in my routines as well. I have a similar issue with cookbooks, and clipped recipes as well. I am trying to digitize as much as I can, and each thing I part with it represents a little more freedom.
Great thought, Debra–a little more freedom with each piece we declutter.
We *so* enjoyed your visit and we were sad to see you go. There is something special when longtime friends get together: words aren’t always necessary. Hope the rest of your vacation was as relaxing! Autumn really loved your writing, too!
Thank you, David and Autumn! Longtime friends are the best and it’s been 33 years. Yes, the rest of our vacation was relaxing, too.
Oh, Susan, I needed to read this just now. You are describing me! 🙂 This thoughtful post is a good reminder to clear up clutter (both physical and that which is the mind) and “regroup”.
I love to cook, but, there are times when I loathe the drudgery of grocery shopping, sighing, what to cook tonight. 43 years of marriage is a blessing, but, that a lot of suppers, made more complicated by Tom’s Type I Diabetes. I usually enjoy a challenge, but, some days it is just isn’t so. I find that just using the good dishes, in the dining room – or out on the deck, sets a different tone for me and actually for both of us. Packing up a picnic supper and eating along the river or Pb&J sandwiches int the arbor by candlelight makes our little world brighter.
Thank you. . . now, I need to tackle that paper pile. . .
Penny, thank YOU for those great ideas for adding fun and a change of pace to our cooking and eating routines. Congratulations on 43 years of marriage. That’s awesome.
Hello Sue, this is Georgia’s brother Michael. She told me about your blog. Your posts are well-written; quite enjoyable and thought-provoking. It is a remarkable, but busy world that we live in, and so it is decidedly good to look up and look around every once in awhile. I guess I’m paraphrasing no less an authority than the noted philosopher Ferris Bueller.
Here below are some “aphorisms” authored by a musician named Robert Fripp that, I think, lend themselves to this particular topic.
I wish you and your family all the best, and I will “stay tuned”!
It is difficult to exaggerate the power of habit.
Life is too short to take on the unnecessary.
Just below the surface of our everyday world lie riches.
Change one small part and the whole is changed.
Thank you, Michael. Great to hear from you, and your comment adds a lot to the conversation. I wish you the best also!