Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Once in a day

My five year diary is both aesthetically pleasing and a super low stakes commitment! (Rachel Poletick / Instagram)
Four years ago when I started The Songs of Spring, I unwittingly found myself caught in the midst of a year-long experiment in endurance. After writing steadily every day, I challenged myself to keep my streak going. Even after 365 days had passed, I had grown so used to the process of coming up with a topic worth writing about every day and then immediately putting pen to paper -- or fingers to keyboard -- that I could not let go. I kept writing daily blogs for a while after my year had elapsed.
Now, like hobbies often do, this blog fell by the wayside to make time for other responsibilities. Where I've lost one commitment, I have gained several others. Yet I have learned since 2012 that having something to hold you accountable on a daily basis can be rewarding, even cathartic.

We often talk about sameness as boring. We use buzzwords like "adventure" and "change" to indicate our hopes and plans for the future. Settling into a routine can be a struggle because it can feel like it lacks stimulation.

The more aspects there are to our routine, the harder this predictability is to bear. Time is our greatest asset and our biggest enemy. We crave more of it. We procrastinate when we feel the time we have is inadequate. We get discouraged. The cycle repeats.

Since 2014, I have been writing in a separate -- private -- journal every day. Short entries, only a few sentences each. Certainly not the same level of engagement and talent required for a blog since I am writing for my eyes only, rather than attempting to explain a theory or a feeling with any complexity.

But writing to foster talent is not what I'm getting at here. What I have discovered since starting this new once-a-day project is that doing something every single day is really awesome. Knowing that you will be carving out even five minutes from your day to do something meaningful not only reinforces values like patience and diligence, it also makes you feel confident on days when you may have been less than productive.

We all would benefit by taking a little time out of our days to reflect. That can mean any number of things, from writing in a journal to sending a note to someone you love to quietly meditating. Our lives, even when they are monotonous, are far too hectic. How often do we stop to just think?

So do that right now. I hope it will be as wonderful for you as it is for me.