As many of you know, my husband and I, newlyweds though we are, live apart for the school year. He has just entered his final year of law school and he holds down the fort stateside with our two miniature dachshunds, Henry and Lucy. I hold a place for him and my furry children here in London, where they will join me next summer. G. was with me all through this exciting (and rainy!) British summer, but returned home to the US last month to complete his degree.
Over the past two years of living apart, we’ve learned how best to manage those horrible airport goodbyes (he drops me off at the curb — sounds brutal, but rather like removing a band-aid, it’s much better to have a quick, abbreviated farewell than having him walk me to the security line and allowing us time to stew and mope). We’ve also learned that we feel best connected and more comfortable having frequent, short conversations every day rather than long marathon catch-ups on the weekends.
Although we’ve established a bit of routine around leaving and re-joining each other, I still have difficulty adjusting back to life on my own after time together. I find that, just like a small child, I do best when I can schedule my time and create a sense of regularity in my day and my week. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand that the bedrock of my good mood include a daily run, three healthy meals, enough sleep and time to read my book. I take great pleasure in all of these things and my mood utterly relies on them, but in the craziness of the daily commute, work and other social commitments, it’s amazing how such important things can get swept aside in favor of the passive, zombie-like activities of television watching and internet surfing.
Furthermore, I’ve come to think that the routines we create for ourselves, and the tasks we do every day says something of our priorities at a given stage in our lives, and perhaps even something of our character and values. Gretchen Rubin over at the Happiness Project had a wonderful post about overcoming the entropy of laziness by committing to do the things that are most important to us every day rather than once in awhile, or a few times a week. I love the Warhol quote she cites:
““Either once only, or every day. If you do something once it’s exciting, and if you do it every day it’s exciting. But if you do it, say, twice or just almost every day, it’s not good any more.” – Andy Warhol
I see some sense in this. A rare treat is wonderful, and a daily constitutional saves us from becoming dilettantes floating from one behavior or trend to the next, adrift in a sea of unrealized potential.