So very much to do, so little time…that has been the theme of these past few weeks of autumn. One day in early October, I fell asleep dreaming of pumpkin spice cookies, foliage-filled hikes, Sunday get-togethers with friends, and warm apple cider. Then I got hit with the boatloads of reading assignments, essays, and research projects that I had somehow forgotten would be a part of graduate school, and promptly put aside the various seasonal pleasures I had planned. Now it’s nearly Thanksgiving and as I look back wondering where all the time has gone, I realize that my days have mostly been dominated by routines. Yes, routines, those mundane activities that most of us breeze through each day without a second thought as we power through our to-do lists, run to keep up with our overscheduled lives, and pursue the ever-elusive goal of accomplishing all our hopes and dreams. No one ever really seems to talk about or take any pleasure in their routines, much less blog about them. But why not? Life isn’t always a thrilling roller coaster ride or a beautiful walk in the park, as much as we like to portray it as such. Sometimes life is just plain ordinary. And ordinary can be okay. It can even be beautiful and enjoyable in its own way, if you allow it. This post is my tribute to the ordinary. It is a photo journal of my Tuesday routine, my Tuesday grind. It was inspired by the Sunday Routine section of the New York Times, and hopefully it will inspire you to discover your own routines, to find a way to spice them up and enjoy them, to take charge of your version of ordinary and live it to the fullest. Here goes. :)
8:50am Tuesday starts with an egg bagel and cream cheese from Absolute Bagels. At this point in the morning, I feel groggy and unpleasant, because I have been silly and have only gotten about six hours of sleep the night prior. But my bagel fixes everything. It is fresh out of the oven, soft and moist on the inside, crisp on the outside, and stuffed beyond belief with cream cheese. It is freakishly delicious, because the people at Absolute Bagels are masters of their craft.
9:30am Having survived three rather cramped and uncomfortable subway rides and hurrying my way through the swarms of rush hour commuters, I am at Grand Central Station and it is beautiful. I come here three times a week to catch the train to my classes at Sarah Lawrence, and when I have time to spare I walk this hallway slowly and try to experience it with the awe and appreciation with which a tourist might experience it. Did you know Grand Central Station is the biggest train station in the world? Just a fun fact I try to keep in mind on ordinary Tuesdays.
9:45am Time for a latte from Irving Farm, one of my absolute favorite places to get coffee in Manhattan. This latte is so much more than just a caffeine fix…it is rich, creamy, and immensely flavorful. It is artfully presented and it leaves you feeling warm and cozy and happy and awake and ready to conquer the world. It is pure perfection. Lucky for me, the Irving Farm at Grand Central is literally right next to the platform where I usually board my train, so this latte is a permanent fixture in my Tuesday routine. Once they took an extra minute or two to get me my order (it was no trouble at all, really), and the barista gave me a 'free coffee' card for next time, just to be nice. What more could I ask for?
10:50am Two hours after leaving my apartment, I am finally in Bronxville, headed towards Sarah Lawrence campus. The commute is a long one, but in the end it feels genuinely worth it. Bronxville is such a cute little suburban town. It is quiet, calm, and peaceful--a refuge after the bustling streets and impatient crowds of Manhattan. And there are so many more trees, so much more foliage, so much more green. The walk to campus can be hilly and exhausting but I try to soak in the nature and take a few moments to think, to plan, to daydream…
11:05am I arrive at grandma's house. I mean…at the child development building on campus, where I take a two-hour seminar style class in personality development. Doesn't it look like it could be grandma's house though? It's just as homey and charming on the inside too. A lovely place for learning psychoanalytic developmental theory and training to become a play therapist. :) After my seminar, I cross campus and spend the entire afternoon as a participant-oberver at the Early Childhood Center. This involves watching and interacting with a fascinating (and precious) group of three to five year olds as they run around on the playground, build castles out of blocks, make cookies out of play dough, and pretend to be dragons and princesses in a make-believe land. This is without question the best part of my Tuesday.
4:30pm A few hours later, I'm back at the train station, still on the Bronxville end of things, ready to start the long commute home. By this point I'm starving and because I didn't have the foresight to pack a snack, I succumb to temptation and treat myself to a Boston cream-flavored doughnut. Confession: I don't actually do this every Tuesday. But I've done it on more Tuesdays than one, and I certainly did it today. No regrets. Everyone deserves a little something at the end of a long day. I board the train, daily dose of sugar in tow, and head back to the city, back home.
6:15pm It's dinnertime. And because it's Tuesday, the giant pot of chili that we cooked before the start of the weekend is no more. Which means a pit stop at Dig Inn, a most excellent place to enjoy a plate of healthy and natural comfort food. For me this involves free range chicken on a bed of brown rice, with a side of sweet potatoes and roasted beets. It's almost as good as a homemade meal and definitely enough to energize me for an evening of studying.
7:00pm Simon comes home from his evening class at Columbia. We catch up on our respective days and hunker down, throwing ourselves into our various reading, writing, and research assignments. We look forward to the day when we are no longer graduate students and can actually relax in the evenings like real human beings, but try our best to stay in the present and enjoy the process of learning anyways. Tuesday is nearly done, and Wednesday is almost here. Life goes on, daily routines continue, the ordinary remains ordinary. But we embrace the ordinary. At least until we have time for our next weekend adventure, of course… ;)