Why Bother Returning to Routines?

Why Bother Returning to Routines?

My routine is a comfort to me. My body, with a mind of its own, requires a certain amount of movement every day. A mixture of running, yoga asanas, weight lifting, bike riding or swimming bring the calmness it craves. Like a fussy baby who has to be rocked to sleep, my body’s state of rest comes only after it has had its daily dose of motion.  

When the Ordinary Ends

Sometimes my pattern of motion gets interrupted. This time last year, I had to quit swimming. Our local health club, the only place in town with an indoor lap pool, shut down. It was a sad day and an interruption to one of my joys. But, I consider myself flexible and adaptable and simply added more miles to my running route to compensate for my lack of laps in the water. 

I don’t remember when I first fell in love with swimming, but I do remember taking swimming lessons as a kid and passing my lifesaving exam by rescuing my teacher from the deep end of the pool. 

Where I grew up, in Nebraska, we did not swim in the lakes as much as we swam at public pools. Being in the water was the perfect place to be on hot, humid summer days. I’d jumped feet first off the tall concrete diving towers and performed somersaults in the water, but I did not truly swim until later when I signed up for my first triathlon. 

 Competing forced me to get serious about swimming.  I bought a membership to our health club and swam laps at five a.m. Usually the first one at the pool, I’d pause and stand on deck taking in the view. It was almost like walking into church before the start of Mass; I was all alone in the big and quiet space. But instead of breathing in the smell of incense, I breathed in chlorine. The warm damp air, the still water and empty lanes waited just for me. But when the health club closed, all of that ended and over the months, I missed the smell of chlorine, feeling buoyant in the water, and the big quiet space of the pool.

 During the summer, I donned my wet suit and swam in the lake a few times each week. But it wasn’t the same. I had to dodge paddle boards, dogs playing catch in the water with their owners and fishermen in their boats. 

This last week though, the club opened again and I went back to my 5:00 a.m. swim. Standing on deck, I took in the smell of chlorine, and the warm damp air. I felt buoyant and was surprised how my body took to the water with ease and comfort as though I’d never left it. I swam my laps, breathing and gliding through the water, moving my arms and feet, making flip turns and pushing off to swim my lane over and over again. 

“Like getting back on a bike?” my husband asked as we crossed the parking lot back to our car after our early morning workouts. “Like getting back on a bike,” I said.

Why bother returning to our routines? It is worth going back to what we once had to give up. It is worth it to return to the familiar, and feel the comfort of the ordinary.

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