Friday, 5 July 2013

Friko’s Everyday World

Often I find myself in complete agreement with the people whose blogs I read; the reason is probably that I tend to follow bloggers who are broadly the same age, have roughly similar attitudes and background,  even though we find ourselves on opposite sides of the globe. The differences in outlook seem negligible, although our daily routines may vary wildly due to unimportant factors like geography and nationality. Occasionally a blogpost makes me stop and think; one of these was a recent post by Irene who writes the blog The Most Splendid Day, wherein she said :

I find that not one day is like the other and that you can not predict what any day in your life is going to be like, although I used to think until quite recently that I had some control over that. But then I used to think that I had control over all kinds of things, and I have come to find out that this is not true at all.

You can not predict what any day is going to look like, and as much as you would like to plan for it, it really can't be done, because the day unfolds as it will and you have to be flexible enough to accept that and not take it personally.

I thought about it, but I can’t agree. Other commenters did agree.

Either I don’t understand what Irene is saying or I live a different life altogether: my life is totally predictable from one day to the next. Basically, it’s all mapped out, not dull or boring - well, sometimes it is -  but planned, laid down in advance according to necessity, duties and obligations, appointments and dates.

There is a diary with entries for all sorts of things: pleasant outings like theatre trips, meals out with friends or meals in with friends, or just meeting friends; the day gardener or the cleaner is coming; not so pleasant whole day shopping trips on days which are otherwise empty; taking Beloved to hospital and surgery appointments, having dealings with officials, like banks or the tax inspector. Hairdresser, chiropodist, beauty treatments, massages, all booked in advance.Village events are planned months ahead and I usually know which ones I’ll attend.

I even know what individual days are like when ’nothing’s on': I wake up around the same time, have the same breakfast, read the same paper, tidy the same rooms,  walk the dog at the same time; I know which areas of the garden I’m going to work in, they’ll be the bits that need it most. I know which household chores need doing when (but at least I no longer have my mum’s laundry or cleaning day).

It is the most mundane and humdrum existence, with duties and obligations, leisure and entertainment, me-time and time for others, all laid down and planned in advance.  I even know my favourite TV programmes which I’ll either watch or record for another day.

Having read Irene’s post and thought about my own life I realise what a regulated and tramline-tracked routine I live.  We are retired and there is scope for spontaneity; occasionally things just happen  but even that usually depends on the weather;  living deep in the countryside makes every outing into an expedition requiring careful forethought.

What I don't know is whether I'm going to be alive tomorrow.

The only place where I go on flights of fancy is inside my head. Here ideas crowd each other out, philosophies and dreams jostle for space. Here I courageously and curiously follow that rainbow from beginning to end.  Inside my head humdrum doesn’t exist, routine marches to a very different beat. I never know what my head is going to come up with next. Sometimes the noise is deafening and I quickly go and iron some complicated shirts to soften it.

Bored with routine? Me?


  1. eh i would agree with her...each day is may have similar elements...i know i am going to wake up, go to work...but what happens, what student needs me or that i touch, who i meet...or a tire blowing out, or someone dies, or even that i will make it to work, i cant predict that...i can, i may be write but i bet i am more wrong than right...ha...

  2. I need to side with Irene on this: I understand about predictability, and also how so very unpredictable a day can be. An accident, an illness, got a phone call I won the lottery.
    Any number of things can turn a normal predictable day into complete chaos.

  3. "What I don't know is whether I'm going to be alive tomorrow.
    The only place where I go on flights of fancy is inside my head. Here ideas crowd each other out, philosophies and dreams jostle for space. Here I courageously and curiously follow that rainbow from beginning to end. Inside my head humdrum doesn’t exist,"

    Once again, I identify with you, dear F. A viewer would find my life stultifying and routine, but like you, I'm always journeying, voyaging, surprising (myself :)

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    ~ > < } } ( ° > <3

  4. I am gratified to see that my post gave you food for thought, although we disagree a bit. I am sure that if we got together in person, we could have a very interesting conversation about this, but I think you stated your point of view very clearly and it is not up to me to change your mind. I think we are all entitled to have our own take on how we approach our daily life. I see the commenters have their own points of view too, and that is how it should be.

  5. I have worked very hard to inject routine into my retired life. When things change from that routine, I am discombobulated and tend to get very stressed out. It does happen, but I prefer to think of my life as similar to Friko's: not much changes from day to day. I like it that way. :-)

  6. I have routine in my life. I wake when I wake, I have a leisurely morning with two cups of coffee and then breakfast of oatmeal and fruit. I usually take a tour of the outside before doing whatever work I have if I have work. I can count on getting distracted and side tracked several times a day. Meals come at fairly regular times. Night comes, I read, I sleep. Every day is pretty much the same but I rarely make plans for more than a few days at a time and I usually find myself adjusting those plans as the future nears. Life is predictable and unpredictable all at the same time. I find being flexible and not minding changes of plans makes for a happier existence.

  7. I am with you. Externally my life runs to a routine. Internally? My mind can (and does) take me anywhere.

  8. I actually like predictable days, and change is always a challenge. In my age I am not looking for excitement any more, but love it quiet and peaceful, and like it to know what will happen tomorrow or next week. Life has surprises of course, those and those, they all have to be dealt with, that's the way it is. :-)

  9. I would have to agree with both of you. Even though we tend to live routine lives, something is always bound to get in the way. It could be an incident, a person, or just the weather. We can plan, but we never can predict. That is truly one of the the most exciting things in life - the unpredictable. I have learned to accept and embrace that which I cannot control.

  10. 'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

    Me..or the day.

  11. Although my day-to-day stuff is pretty much organized as yours (with the difference that I am not yet retired, and don't have a dog, husband or garden to take care of), I know that the sense of being in control can very quickly be shattered. When my husband died, everything I expected from the days, weeks, months and years to come was turned upside down, and my life has never been the same again. He died totally out of the blue, so there was no thinking "what if..." before, or planning for widowhood.
    Now, with work, I often find that I arrive at our biggest customer's office with a clear idea of the tasks I want to complete that day, and then the customer comes up with something else for me to do, and I adapt quickly.
    Or I plan on going for a run or a nice long walk in the evening, but by the time evening is here, it rains, or work keeps me at the office longer than planned, or I am too tired and hungry when I get home.
    Planning and being organized is important for me, to keep a stable outer frame to the wilderness of my mind. But it has its limits, and I think that's a Good Thing.

    1. After a great loss, I think planning and directing your daily activities can be a blessing; a way to get outside of the mind where grief lays at bay, waiting to pounce at every waking moment. How does one escape from this cycle, or does it simply lessen with time? So sorry for your loss.

  12. Hi Friko - I used to have a sort of planned day ... however I haven't quite settled into a routine of life - I've now started planning some new projects - so need to be more organised .. but I'm sure that will come - I am a very disorganised organised person! It's worked for many years .. I guess more of the same won't do any harm ... and I do jump a train to visit exhibitions/museums - and following on your outreach live performance viewings ... I'll go and see Glyndebourne at the de la Warr Pavilion in Bexhill ... my brain is exercised - I need to take the body for a walk every day! When it's as glorious as it is now ... that is easy!

    Happy really sunny weekend by the look of it .. Hilary

  13. I fully agree with you ! I think my days are like a pearl necklace, each day looks the same. The same routine, with appointment interruptions sometimes. But otherwise I also depend very much on the weather. I can't go out and take pictures when it rains buckets !
    I also get up more or less at the same time, automatically even without alarm clock, do the same things each morning have lunch and supper each day at the same time. In short, besides my trips, I lead the same life as you.

  14. I have a diary full of appointments, but I aim for as little routine as possible. I like every day to be different and nothing gives me more of a buzz than unexpected events when I have to think on my feet and solve problems. A few quiet, predictable days can be pleasantly restful, but I'll be ready to change my plans at any moment.

  15. Friko, your post and the prior comments offer many descriptions of how we do make our way through the days we are offered. I admit to yearning for a bit more routine or predictability than I currently find on offer.

    I think that life is trying to convince me that flexibility is valuable. I still resist a bit! When I've heard someone talk about accepting change, I've always thought it's one thing to accept change "offered" from another source, and quite another to be the one doing the offering.

    My work schedule varies every week, no two are alike. Each workday plays out in an unpredictable way. The good part is the opportunity to meet fantastic folks from all over the world. On my days off, I figure out ways to get the required errands done, and still have time to have some unscheduled fun. Each of these days also has a one-off quality.

    If I look back ten or more years I hardly recognize the different life I lead. Some changes are gradual, some abrupt.

    The other evening I saw the most remarkable rainbow of my life. That was a jolt of joy!


  16. Oh Friko, how I love you. My life is very predictable. I am never bored but my life is boring. This summer will consist of work and no play. It will be a summer of going to doctors appointments to try to figure out what is wrong with me. I have no plans or the means to go anywhere. And it will be the same in the fall, winter and next spring. For me, change is often something dreadful and sad. It has been a long time since any sort of change has brought happiness. (Oh god, I need to go smoke some pot and cheer the hell up. But I don't smoke pot because I am too afraid to try something new.)

  17. I do live a life of routine, but it's also unpredictable in its way, mainly because of the people I love and the way their lives impact mine. Someone I care about calls up out of the blue needing something...or just to chat. Something amazing or awful happens to one of my kids or grandkids, and suddenly my day is running on a whole different track. I decide to cancel everything I had planned because I am writing something I just can't let go of....or reading a book I refuse to put down.

    Internally, I'm a bit unpredictable as well, though I'm grounded enough that the underpinnings are much the same. Still, I go in some pretty strange directions at times...and mostly, I enjoy it!

    I think your life sounds like a rich, fulfilling one...and predictability can be a lovely thing. I'm glad for the measure of it that I have, and I am always glad to get back into my routine whenever I've been on vacation.

  18. I am housebound so from the outside my life probably looks extremely routine and predictable but, to me, my life is anything but. Maybe because my life has been taken over by my unpredictable body and so plans are often out of my control. I am never sure what my physical options will be from one day to the next and sometimes from one hour to the next--but my mind is totally free!! Like yours, it gambols, darts, races, and tumbles all over the place all the live long day! ;)

  19. Frico, I think that there are two species of people: some live with the word "I must"
    others live with the words "I want, I do not want"
    You live as the first type of people and Irene lived as the second type.
    If one "must" go to the doctor, taking Beloved to hospital, another have to feed her children, it can be routine, the planned life. Such life is simple and relaxed, and you can think what you like doing something planned.
    Irene lives with the words "I want - I do not want to," and so her life is unpredictable. If she does not want to go to the doctor, then it can worsen her health or something else, this can not be predicted.
    I'm on your side, all my life I'm doing what I have to do.

  20. I think Ellen Abbott summed up my own reaction in her comment, especially 'Life is predictable and unpredictable all at the same time.' Since I retired I tend to sit loose to planning the future in much detail yet my days are mostly quiet and fairly humdrum and still very satisfying. We have to live life according to our own nature, which is why we come up with such different approaches. A post which made me think.

  21. I relate to what you're saying (and, by the way, you've said it very well. "What I don't know is whether I'm going to be alive tomorrow" - that sentence/paragraph has tremendous power, not to mention truth). I have found, like you it seems, that the best way to foster a rich inner life is to have an outer life of routine.

  22. I'm on side with Irene - I've always loved the saying "Tell Gaia your plans for the day and hear her laugh and laugh." We can plan all we want but the unpredictability of the end result is the challenge.
    I've seen far too many people make plans for retirement and then boom! a devastating illness, the death of a child, etc., throws everything sideways. Seize the moment, stay where our hands are. Plan but....

  23. Having had little control over things when young, I'm a big fan of it now. When I retired I thought I'd be dashing off, doing things at a moment's notice. Instead, I still have future plans neatly penciled into a calendar and spontaneous moments are few. But that's fine with me. I just make sure that those penciled events are fun ones.
    Probably that whole right-brain, left-brain phenomenon driving us.

  24. I am quite organized; I have a calendar with all the possibilities. The necessities are a different color! I'm more comfortable with a plan than with spontaneity, though it's fine to get sidetracked when you're retired.

  25. Even on my busiest days, most of it leans predictable vs. unpredictable.

    But I am very aware that life and the future leans way out of my control.

    And many of my favorite days in life have been those that were spontaneously spun together and completely unplanned.

  26. Catching up on your posts... loved the one about the kitchen table and on;y wish I had a kitchen large enough to accommodate one. The peony and bee photos are outstanding! And this post -- my life too is quite orderly and organized to the point of tedium -- except when Someone throws a spanner in the works -- the cows get out, the pump fails to work, the power goes off...

  27. I know what you mean, Friko, in that our routines become a comforting and pleasant part of life when we retire. I guess the unpredictable might be twists and turns in health and mortality -- as you said, one could die tomorrow. I've had some friends and relatives for whom life changed profoundly and forever in a minute -- with a fall downstairs in one instance and, another, an overly enthusiastic grandchild knocking her grandmother to the ground with a well-meant flying leap to hug her -- and these instances changed their lives and routines, which are now well-established again as they enjoy life as best they can. I guess what it all means to me is savoring an ordinary day, simple moments of happiness because everything can change in an instant -- so, though life is quite predictable in many ways these days, I do treasure it.

  28. I crave routine, but when I have it, I fight it. I can plan my day, and then at the end of it, nothing has gone according to my plan. So I understand and agree with both you and Irene!

  29. I have to go with Irene, Friko. The best laid plans, etc, etc.

  30. One can plan one's day , one's week or month , even one's future up to a certain point . And then all of a sudden ....
    So I'll just get on with today .

  31. I can see both sides. While I do enjoy routine to an extent, and tyhe comfort it brings, I also crave spontaneity at times.

  32. Most of the surprises in my life have been shatteringly painful.
    I pray for unsurprising days.

  33. Sometimes I long for a little predictability - to know that next Saturday I'll do such and such would be comforting, in a way. These days I feel as though I'm reacting to outside events more than orchestrating my own schedule. It's not how I like to live. When it all gets too crazy I come to a full stop and try to arrange some order. It lasts for a while. The crazy days, combined with the circus in my mind (I loved your description in the last paragraph) make for an often chaotic state.

  34. Ironing seems to resolve all sorts of problems for me - in the worst case scenario, when nothing seems to have been achieved in my rather chaotic days (I'm more like Irene in that) it gives me some feeling of being in control of my life!

  35. I am usually not a hedger but I agree with parts of both of what you 2 have to say. There are the quandaries that arise, as well as the wonderment..& there are days of trudging samenesstobanal.

    And you & I do have quite different ideas about a lot of things(like Henry Kissinger ;o), but we like & respect each other. ~Mary

  36. I like what Starting Over says, that we can plan but not predict. My life, too, is one of sameness that provides a sturdy bedrock for the times when something unexpected happens. Sameness can soothe and satisfy, much like ritual behavior does, hence the popularity of organized religion. One cannot count out unpredictability nor does one's entire life rest on it.

  37. Well, there you have it -- we don't know if we'll be alive tomorrow. Or when someone we love will no longer be with us (or not love us or whatever). I agree with both of you -- my days are certainly somewhat planned but then other things come along -- right now I mostly think of health, as you might imagine, but really, it could be a dozen things. All I can do is best live my life so that when "no control" happens, I can cope with it as well as possible.

  38. My days follow the same basic routine until late morning. I wish I could reverse the way I approach the beginnings of my day, but I guess I like it enough that I don't really try to change things. I have great predictability to most of my days. And, you are right. We only have today. My health has been a great distractor lately. I'm ready to be done with that. I'm ready to have a bit more fun and do things that I used to do.

  39. checking in
    and catching up.
    thank you for your note
    while computer was down.
    Oh yes
    I seem to have a basic routine each day
    but I enjoy what I do..

  40. I've never exactly liked routine, and my life actually requires a certain degree of flexibility, but it does help to have some structure. Sounds as if your life has structure rather than tramlines.

  41. Everyday, some serendipitous event occurs and my neatly planned schedule goes awry. I've had a cookbook open for three days planning a dessert for David. Have yet to make it, although I have assembled all the ingredients. As for blogging, I have reduced my time on the computer, or before I know it the day is over and I have missed several "planned" activities, such as fixing a meal. Books also keep me gainfully employed.

    Just this morning, I was wondering again how I could work water aerobics into my schedule. I've got to do something for this arthritic hip. Dianne


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