“Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don't. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.” - Philip Andrew Adams
Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? If not, the basic premise is that this weatherman Phil (played by Bill Murray) is sent to Pennsylvania to cover the big groundhog day event and gets stuck in a time warp and he wakes up the next day and he ends up repeating the same day over and over...this morning I'm kind of thinking my life feels a little bit like that movie. So it's 6:30 a.m. and I am following my regular routine, make coffee, take coffee to computer, browse for inspiration, and check clock realizing I have to get ready for work any minute. Despite the fact that ideally I should be getting ready for work I am called to write this blog while it's fresh. I've come to realize that today as I look at it my life seems to be a day to day regurgitated version of the day before that. I guess some people would say it's safe and stable on a positive note. There's no major dramas, not the soap opera days of my youth, just Alex and I trying our best to be good parents and hold together this humble life of ours.
Most of my weeks usually unfold in a similar way... Mondays I get together with Stacey and Kelly to watch the Bachelor and Thursdays we reprise with Grey's Anatomy. There's usually some sort of cheesy spinach dip, carrots cucumbers and pita bread and cheap red wine served on the side. I get home from my morning shift at work each day to Alex running out the door and giving me a quick kiss as he rushes passed. I look down to 2 sets of big brown eyes who are usually looking to mommy for snuggles and snacks. I drop Jalen and Ruby off at daycare each day at the same time and put on the same "indoor shoes", give the same good-bye kisses and "I Love You's", I tell Jalen to give Ruby a hug and a few days a week Ruby screams and cries at the window for mommy and it breaks my heart the same way. Likely my day will usually include a bowl of crunchy Kashi cereal and a banana, I usually read a few pages of my current novel of choice or if I need a spiritual lift, a few excerpts from my favourite inspiring reads. Then, a nap with the alarm set for 2:30 p.m. to get up and go back to work. I make my second coffee of the day in my Tassimo (one of my most cherished posessions) freshen up the face and hair and head to work.
So I work as a supervisor at a before and after-school program at Ryerson Public School. I arrive at work for my after-noon shift and set up the chairs at the same tables. Pull out the same "guess-who" game and markers and lego. My Ryerson kids will likely want to play Octopus as an outdoor game or maybe switch it up and play "finger foods." I will serve them same snacks like carrots sticks and ranch, yogurt parfaits or some chips and salsa because that's what the already decided for me menu tells me I have to serve.
I'll come home at 6pm and ask my kids how their days were, Jalen will say something very similar to "good...I played with blocks." and Ruby will say "Good day...I bite Autumn" Which I have to add she did once, she bit a girl in her class named Autumn one day, and she got such a big reaction from Alex and I that she figured that it was her best material. Then I proceed to say..."No Ruby..you don't bite Autumn." And she grins with glee, because she loves the predictable answer. Kids love when you react in predictable ways, and they can know that everything is right with their world when mommy responds just the same way she did the day before.
My life is often so routine that I can go about my day on auto-pilot and sometimes arrive at work and not even remember the drive. Get through a bedtime routine with my kids or prepare the peanut butter on toast with a side of banana and a sippy cup of milk for Jalen and Ruby's breakfast with my eyes closed. Including reading "Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you see?" by memory.
So, how do I keep a stable home environment for my kids while also catering to my inner child who craves a little drama and excitement every once in a while, who needs to get away from the everyday mundane tasks...With a little research, a common theme seems to be the quite simple suggestion of "Trying something new everyday." I decided to make a list of things I would like to try so here goes:
1. Go to Michael's and browse the aisle for a new craft I can try, purchase some different art materials. Beadery, applique, papercraft, florals...Make something for someone.
2. Prepare a recipe that I've never made before out of my cookbooks like that polenta with mushrooms that has always called to me.
3. Create a playlist of music that is completely different from my other music.
4. Learn how to do those sudoku puzzles finally.
5. Wear my hair down or even better try a new hairstyle!
6. Set the table with candles and the "good dishes" for a simple weeknight dinner
7. Drive to and from work a different way(this will take you off auto-pilot!)
8. Go eat at a restaurant that I've been hearing about and always wanted to try.
9. Learn some new songs to sing with my kids, sing them out loud as we drive around town.
10. Grocery shop somewhere I've never shopped at before, find something new to try, like in the organic and health food section.
11. Instead of that tall mild blend coffee I usually order from Starbucks, order that exotic bold choice on the menu
12. Explore a new topic I've always wondered about, for example I've always been interested in buddism and I picked up a little pocket sized book with all the basics of buddism.
13. Instead of settling in for the night with the tv remote, play a board game.
14. Watch an oscar winning movie that I've never seen...like "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest." This movie came out in the 70's and won a few oscar's. I've always wanted to see it.
15. Find a paint project, nothing cures a rut like a fresh coat of paint!
16. Say Yes, when I would usually say No, to invites or ideas.
17. Treat my kids at work to a surprise special snack, like warm chocolate chip cookies and milk
or for the morning program make a fancy breakfast for everyone, with muffins for parents to take as they drop their kids off.
As the movie Groundhog day unfolds Bill Murray realizes that there are no consequences for his actions because the same day will be repeated the very next day without fail. He begins taking risks by robbing banks, pigging out on food and seducing women. Eventually, he decides to make the most out of this situation and start to see the beauty in "today." Once he does that he is able to get out of his day repeating nightmare. So I suppose I could look at my current situation in that way too...I can start taking some risks and trying something new, but also take the time to appreciate the beauty in the routine and safe predictable life I've created. How many days to we just go through the moments and toss them aside without really seeing the opportunity that each day could really possess? A conversation that slips by and you don't say what you really meant to say, or a project you mindlessly put together, or dinner you prepare without any love put in it or kiss that gets planted on your husband as he rushes out the door as you are busy looking at something else. Our auto-pilot mode of living, often makes us miss that there are extraordinary wonders hidden in this ordinary day. So yes, let us take risks and try something new today, but let us also wake up to the beauty that this ordinary day may possess.