It is one thing to start a new routine. It’s another thing to maintain it.
Two weeks ago I started the “40 Day Savannah Smiles Challenge” in an effort to insert more beauty and balance into my life and render myself a little more positive, a little more like the sunny Savannah I used to know.
During the first week of the Savannah Smiles Challenge, I felt empowered and motivated. And I started writing. I started writing any chance I got— on the metro, on a bench in the Jardin du Luxembourg, waiting for a friend. I journaled every day. That is, until the new semester started.
On Monday I woke up and slid back into my old morning regimen: shower, make coffee, pour coffee number 1, read the news and answer emails, acquire coffee number 2, blow-dry hair, straighten bangs, rush out the door.
This is not necessarily a routine I dislike or find detrimental to my happiness. But it is not one that allows time for yoga or poetry. Hence it wasn’t until I was putting my shoes on that I realized I’d forgotten to do my sun salutations and read my poem. It’s the first day of classes, I thought, I can skip a day.
But skipping one led me to skip another and soon the routine I was trying to meld into my day-to-day life was sabotaged. This doesn’t mean I’ve failed completely. I just haven’t done a moon salutation or journaled in four days.
I am writing this post now to remind myself of why I started this challenge. I am writing this post to remind myself of why I need to continue. Creating a new routine doesn’t mean I have to destroy the old one, it just means I need to adjust my already established habits to accomodate those I want to add. Sacrificing a handful of minutes sifting through news on Twitter is a small price to pay for an entire day spent in a more balanced, more content state of mind.
Part of my challenge is to note one thing I’ve found beautiful throughout the day at the end of my daily journal entry. Here are a few things I’ve jotted down:
Today I discovered la Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève. It is the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen. I worked there for three hours, all the while marveling at the great, black arches that support the ceiling and the yellowed, antique books that cover the walls. I got myself a library card, and I will be spending a lot of time there.
Paris in the snow is beautiful. The only reason I knew it was snow was because the flakes, each so small they looked like drops of mist, drifted down to the earth like feathers instead of plummeting to the sky like rain. Within an hour the snowflakes had grown and looked as they should when dancing through the crisp Paris air.
The pond in front of the Sénat is frozen except for in the center where the water is splashing down from the fountain and a small cut-out where garden-goers are feeding bread to the ducks. The sun, slowly setting, reflects off the shards of ice, making them glint like glass.
The grass is bright golden green in the sun. A single shadow, cast by a statue of a young boy, extends across the circular lawn like an hour hand on a clock.
Seagulls dive into the fountain and bob through the air. One of them has caught a piece of ribbon and is trailing it behind him as he soars across the periwinkle sky. The ribbon twinkles like tinsel and I want to fly like a kite.
This is beautiful.
Reliving the first week of my Savannah Smiles challenge through my journal entires has reaffirmed my desire to further integrate these new patterns, most importantly writing, into my every day. Writing is one of my greatest pleasures, and doing it consistently liberates and enriches my imagination.
I want to write everyday. Now I just need the discipline and self-awareness to ensure that I can find the time to do so. But if I’ve learned anything these past couple of months, I’ve learned that I always have the time. What I lack is the will.
Smiles and all the best,