Normal life


“I think the best vacation is the one that relieves me of my own life for a while and then makes me long for it again.”
– Ann Patchett, “Do Not Disturb,” in This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

It’s been two-and-a-half-weeks. Since the last time we all had to get up, get ready, get our things together, get ourselves out the door.

Two-and-a-half weeks doesn’t sound like a very long time. Just a little more than half a month. Eighteen days, give or take.

But it’s long enough. To be far, far removed from the normal routine. To have relaxed into a new, though temporary normal. To forget what it’s like to have deadlines and phone calls and emails that don’t include invitations to parties or wishes of love and joy and happy.

To forget the password to get into my work email…

It’s long enough that I have indeed been relieved of my own life for a little while.

And, yes, long enough to make me long for it again.

When I was a little girl, I used to hate New Years Day. It would be a long, dark, boring day. My brother, sister, and I would wander about, using up the last bits of excitement over toys that were a week old. In the background was always the sound of the Mummers Parade because, born and raised in Philadelphia, my Mom still firmly believes that it is not New Years without string bands and fancy brigades. And all the while, I’d be dreading the next day. Back to school, back to normal life. Back to cold, dark days and the threat of snow and freezing rain every morning.

This feeling stayed with me well into adulthood. This love of special and holiday and breaks in the routine. And the sadness when it all comes to an end.

Lately, though, I’ve begun to realize that January 2nd, and, for that matter, the 6th or 10th or 31st, don’t have to spell the end of special. And routine, especially when you take a couple of weeks away, feels as warm and cozy as a well-worn sweater when you return to it.

And when you put the two together, normal life feels not so normal at all.

And when you start to feel the let down from the holidays, a little ache for people and festivity, you can gather with friends and make a party for no reason at all.

Or you can look just a bit ahead and start cutting out hearts because another holiday is just around the corner.

construction paper heart

The break from routine and the freshness of the new year come together for me in January to inspire changes to the old ways of doing things and the creation of new routines and rhythms.

And the parts of the routine that we missed? We’re oh so glad to be back to those.

And without the holidays looming and the full calendars, we get to rest and relax. And with the snow and the cold we spend more time at home and we slow down and talk more. And everything feels just right. And calm.

So even though I’m up much earlier today than I want to be and it’s far too cold outside and I’ll really be in trouble if I can’t remember my password by the time I get into the office… I’m welcoming January 6th today.

Are you back to the routine today? How’s it going for you so far?


  1. I should be heading back to routine and work today, but I’m sick, unfortunately. I do love the routine, and I’m hoping to be well enough to go back to work tomorrow and get back into a regular schedule of life!
    Kristin recently posted..HeavyMy Profile

  2. Not back to routine..quite yet. We had an ice storm last night and it threw everything slightly off. One hour delay. Not as bad as the two hour delay that the public schools had. Ah, preschool.
    I do love the coziness and comfort of routine. I have..craved this for days now.
    Tamara recently posted..When Will My Life Begin?My Profile

    • Yeah I probably spoke a bit too soon yesterday as today we’re all home again because of the incredible cold. But still, feels more normal than last week and ahh I love it!

  3. My whole house was feeling that dread today…school, work, forgotten passwords… I’m with you in that I would rather look ahead. Besides, I feel like you and I both have so much great stuff ahead of us. And hopefully a lot of “mistakes” to make this year as we navigate some uncharted territories. I love that quote by the way. That’s part of what got me going this morning in addition to a third cup of coffee.
    Ilene recently posted..A Modern Family ChristmasMy Profile

    • Oh yes, friend, we definitely do have so much great ahead of us.
      So glad you loved that quote! It’s been sticking with me too. So brilliant that Neil.

  4. I like getting away from my life for a while and wanting to be back in it, but two weeks at home with my kids just made me feel more IN my life! Now I want to get back to the life of quiet during the day until they get home, time to concentrate and work. Stay-cations are great, I think, if you’ve been super busy and out of the house too much. But this winter, my stay-cation wore out its welcome pretty fast! I’m loving getting back to the old routine. (That is, until summer….)

  5. I think I need routine. In fact, even on those getaway days, I want to create a routine, and although it won’t include work email and writing assignments and meetings, it will give me a little structure, even if it is fishing first thing in the morning or playing checkers against Grace.

    New Year’s Day to me has always had all the glamour and excitement of arbor day, without the trees.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted..You’ll Always be my BoyMy Profile

    • Oh me too. I do the same – even on a break (whether staycation or vacation) I try to create a rhythm. Don’t even normally realize I’m doing it until it’s set. So funny, we humans!

  6. What a GREAT way to put it! Truly!
    Misty recently posted..And NEWness, take two… Action!My Profile

  7. Oh I absolutely know what you mean. I used to feel that dread of New Year’s day. Not much to do and all the glory of the holiday/vacation was over. But now? I do love returning to routine and settling into that comfortable old sweater. What I don’t like? The transition. It’s hard and messy sometimes. Or maybe it just feels that way because I’m stuck in the middle of it right now.

    PS I love that you are doing the Writing Humans newsletter. Can’t wait to get it.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Three Ways Traveling Has Made Me More MindfulMy Profile

  8. Admittedly, this was one of the first years that I wasn’t looking forward to getting back into a routine. Maybe I should take your advice and start cutting out paper hearts at work all day…I’d have the craftiest cube in the office! ;-D
    Leslie recently posted..{Weigh In Wednesday} Week 54My Profile

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