Our rituals do not define us, but they are an expression of who we are. I am not organized because I have a tightly ordered daily schedule, but I have a tightly ordered daily schedule because I am organized. It is a distinction with a difference. Instead of trying to find or define myself (does anyone ever, actaully?) and figure out ways to meet that definition (and all its various needs) while staying true to my natural tendancies (to stay in bed and read all day), I instead focus on what is important to me, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.
For example, I used to think that I wanted to be a person who read lots of classic books. I liked classic books, so I thought I should read them all. I would write down schedules for how many books I needed to get through in a given month to reach my goal of having read so many books per year. I would burn out on the first week and end up hating the people who seemed to accomplish what I couldn't. So I gave up on the goals of reading a certain number of books in a year, and now just read because I like to, when I can. Once I gave up on some ideal that wasn't true to me, I actually came closer to the original goal I had by accident. Deciding that I wanted to be a classic book reader didn't work. But allowing my normal reading rituals to evolve, ended up making me a classic book reader.
Really, this isn't meant to be a post about how to find balance or purpose in life. It is just meant to be a nod to the daily rituals and habits that seem to provide comfort and serenity when life hands us a new set of challenges each day. The rituals are not the grand plans and pronouncements, but the little moments and events that shape each day.
Sleepily leaning against the kitchen counter while smelling the coffee brewing each morning (even if you aren't the coffee drinker...such a great aroma), singing "aaaaaaaaaaaaaa" in harmony with your toddler in an attempt to keep her mouth open just long enough to brush her pearly whites, or even reading in bed at night with your spouse and interrupting eachother's reading because something was just so funny or interesting that you had to share (sometimes annoying, but a ritual I long for when it doesn't take place).
So, here is to afternoon tea dates with myself, watering the flowers in the morning light, fancy
breakfasts on the weekend (defined as anything more complex than cereal, and sitting in the dining room instead of breakfast nook), walking to the mailbox every afternoon right around the time Jonny comes home so that we can shine with excitement at his arrival, summer afternoons in the pool, and sitting down to dinner every night with our little family.
Without these moments, life would be hectic, dismembered, uncomfortable, inhuman, and not really worth all the big moments.