Late one night, the only sounds echoing in the house were the filter from the fish tank and the odd rustle of hubby on the computer downstairs. The weight of my body was sinking me deep into the mattress. I was exhausted. The blankets were tucked up high, the heater on, yet I was still cold. I was feeling cold from the inside out, in a way that I could not explain.
My mind was restless. I could barely hold onto a thought, before I was twisting with another. The TV was on, yet it was a blur. Unable to focus I switched it off. I turned onto my side and hoped that if I closed my eyes for long enough sleep would come.
As the minutes ticked by, sleep did not come. The wind outside was howling and tugging at the house. I could hear the trees by my window rustling in the gusts that caught them and threw them against the sky. It seemed that restlessness was everywhere that night.
Eventually hubby came to bed, to find me there, awake in the dark.
“Are you ok?”
“Want to talk?”
I paused. “Do you have your tarot cards?” I asked him.
Hubby works in the world of management and telecommunications. Yet, there is a flip-side to his suit and tie. He loves tarot. He has spent the last two years studying tarot and does tarot readings. That night, I wanted the Universe to give me a reason to put my restlessness to bed. Whether there is any truth to tarot or not, bore no significance to me. I yearned for some quiet when I had very little else.
As he turned each card over, a conversation slowly began. We did not talk about our boys or work. It was the type of conversation we used to have long ago, before kids. The type that barely happens now. As he turned another card over, he asked the question that stopped the restlessness in my mind.
“Do you drive your routine, or does the routine drive you?”
His question did not seem like one to stop or answer anything. Yet it did. I knew the answer instantaneously. The routine was the driver. I was a mere passenger. The routine drives the endless checkpoints of my day and swings me to and fro. The routine relentlessly pushes me faster and faster. There are times that I can barely hold on. Barely have control.
Outside the winds started to settle. The trees grew silent and stillness came. I do not want to be a passenger anymore. I do not want the feelings of self-doubt, comparing, pushing, bypassing. I want to take back control. Drive at my pace. Stop when I want to stop.
Wake up. Have coffee. Make lunches. Wake up kids. Feed kids. Dress kids. Sort out school bags. Drive the school run. Do the washing. Fold the washing. Iron the washing. Buy the groceries. Make dinner. Drive the school run. Do reading. The check points are endless. Every minute can easily be accounted for in my day, every-single-minute.
The day to day is inevitable. It is necessary. Life demands that routine happens. But I need to be in control. The routine cannot be all consuming. There needs to be more than just the routine. The realisation that I wanted to be the driver brought a silence.
There in the dead of night, tarot cards shuffled across the bed, I did not rush to fill the silence. It was time to let go. Time to take back control.
Who drives the routine in your life?