Reworking the Routine

The old routine involved getting up at four in the morning to write for an hour or so before going to work.

The new routine? Well, since I retired, the routine is still evolving.

I’m a morning person, always have been. I still get up relatively early. After breakfast, I read my morning newspaper in the morning, something that was difficult to do in the days when I had a day job.

I am used to writing in the morning, so originally I thought I’d get to the computer as soon as I finished the paper. I’d spend the whole day writing.

But there’s exercise, too. I make an effort to get some exercise every day, for the good of my creaky knees. Walking is right at the top of the list. My plan was to walk in the afternoon, after my writing session.

I discovered, however, that when the writing flows and I’m immersed in the creative process, I don’t want to leave to computer. I keep going and going until it’s late. I’m done for the day. It’s time to feed the cats, and me, and I don’t want to go for a walk.

I bought a bicycle last year, to get a different kind of exercise, one that’s easier on those creaky knees. I also use the bike instead of my car.

Janet's powder blue bike, a Public CS8

Janet’s powder blue bike, a Public CS8

But I don’t like riding the bike late in the day. It’s that out-of-school, coming-home-from-work traffic that makes me wary – too many drivers in a hurry to get home, not paying attention to what they’re doing, and me a moving target on my spiffy powder blue bike. That block of time in the late afternoon doesn’t feel like a safe time to be out pedaling along the streets of Alameda.

So the solution, for now, is to exercise in the mornings. After breakfast is over and the newspaper has been read, I put on my helmet and wheel the bike out the front door.

Some mornings I ride along the beach trail in my island city, with San Francisco Bay to one side and the city skyline in the distance. There aren’t that many cars on the street at this time of day. I encounter walkers on the trail, so I call out warnings as I approach, and ring my bike bell. I also call out “Good morning” to everyone I meet. It’s a nice way to start the day.

Other mornings it’s the farmers’ market, especially now that summer is here and the stalls are piled high with cherries, peaches, apricots, and those lovely asparagus spears I plan to cook on my grill.

Still another destination is the library, with the bag on my bike rack full of books, either taking them back or picking them up.

I think the exercise-in-the-morning routine is working. It’s invigorating, and once I wheel the bike back into the living room, then it’s on to the office, and the computer.

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2 Responses

  1. Isn’t it good to be flexible? :-) But seriously, exercise has been part of my writing life for about thirty years, and I find the two inseparable. I often work in my head when my working out with weight or doing cardio.

    • Yes, Lev, I frequently work through plot or character issues while walking or riding my bike. And yes, it’s great to have the flexibility that retirement provides.
      Janet

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