As I sit here, steaming mug of tea next to the laptop, slippers on and the fire roaring beside me, I exhale deeply. Ahhhh- I feel like I've found my rhythm again.
'Where'd it go?' you might ask?
'I think I lost it somewhere between Australia and America.' I might reply.
Since my family relocated from Australia to the US six weeks ago, my sense of daily rhythm has alluded me. If I'm completely honest, it was probably lost weeks before we even left Australia because life was anything but rhythmic during our preparation for the move. I am so grateful to have found it again.
What exactly do I mean by rhythm? I'm talking about that lovely generally predictable flow of the days and weeks. My daily rhythm looks like: a not-too-early wake up, farewelling hubby as he heads to work, a hot cup of tea, slow breakfast with the kids and then as they get their school day started, I exercise, shower, consult my planner and start work (such as recording the podcast or conducting client sessions). As my work day ends around mid afternoon I usually glide into doing an activity with the kids, maybe a walk or bike ride, they might have friends over or I'll run them to sports practice. After that I'll potter about in the kitchen, making dinner and prepping food for the following day. In the evening it's family meal time, reading with the kids, either a bit of tv-watching with a warm sleepy-tea or sitting down to a couple more hours of work and then I'll drift off to bed to snuggle up and read my book, ending my day.
Now, don't get me wrong - there are plenty of other things that happen amongst that general rhythm. Unglamorous things. Like cleaning house, grocery shopping and appointments. Lovely things too, like catch-ups with friends. And there are plenty of unexpected things that will pop up to derail that predictable rhythm also. But, most days of most weeks Monday to Friday run along a pretty similar thread.
The reason I call it my daily rhythm, rather than my daily routine is that its not regimented. Other than possibly school starting and finishing times, and my attempt at enforcing the kids bed time, nothing really happens to a fixed schedule. Sometimes dinner is on the table at six pm and some times at seven-thirty. Sometimes I shower before I work and sometimes I record a podcast in my gym gear or even my pyjamas. Shhh- thats just between you and me. Sometimes I'm in bed at ten pm, more often at midnight. I love the feel of a my daily rhythm, it's just sequential enough to give me the feeling of comfort and predictability without being so regimented that I feel stifled or locked down.
However, the process of moving internationally has seen even this relatively fluid routine disappear completely. Spending fourteen days in a hotel on arrival and the jet lag that accompanied the travel felt like all the days of the week were blurred together and there was no clear reason to be in bed or out of bed by any certain time. There would be days I'd start making dinner and realise I hadn't showered yet, or had spent the entire day in my gym clothes but not actually got around to exercising. It had the feeling of those days between Christmas and New Years where you walk around dazed, confused and without any real destination.
Once we embarked on all of the tedious administration required to set yourself up in a new country (think opening bank accounts, buying cars, enrolling kids in school, plus moving into our new home) those listless days flipped to ones of mania. It felt like there was a million things for hubby and I to do but not enough hours. Who knew what day or time it was? Have we eaten yet today? It didn't matter - we just needed to get stuff done. And pronto! We were racing about like headless chickens but the kids, being mostly unable to assist us with our tasks, found their days boring, unremarkable and without much direction. As a consequence, we were all in a bit of a funk. We moved through the day, achieved all that we could but struggled to feel like there was deep intention or knowing behind our actions. It felt like we weren't grounded to anything. Just floating.
Ten days ago hubby started his new job, the kids started virtual schooling and I have recommenced work on the podcast and with clients. Fast forward to today and I'm finally exhaling. Ahhhh- We found our rhythm again.
I always knew dogs were creatures of habit but hadn't realised how much humans are too. Being gently anchored back to our loose rhythm of school, work, meals and family time has re-invigorated and re-energised us. We've rediscovered comfort in knowing what's coming and what's expected from us for the day and the week ahead. I've recognised the contentment that comes with the predictability and flow of my day.
Beyond that, this re-discovery of our unique family rhythm and its constancy is now feeding the excitement of a getaway. A break from your daily rhythm can be a blessing when you know it will be there, waiting to resume on your return. And so we are away this weekend to start the adventure of exploring America, meeting its people, seeing its landscapes, eating it's amazing food - doing the exact thing that originally inspired our move here. All the time knowing that come Monday morning, our rhythm will re-emerge and I'll be back in its familiar flow with a morning cup of tea, slippers on and a long exhale...