Twenty years ago if I were to tell you how my day would have looked like while comparing it to today, there would be a stark difference.
I used to live on caffeine to get me through the day while in college.
Getting someone to sneak in hot water and milk for my late-night studying, I would guzzle down an average of 15-20 cups from late evening to late night and barely manage to sleep for 2 to 3 hours.
Alarm at 5:00 AM meant I had 30 minutes to brush my teeth, take a quick shower, get dressed, and be in the Chapel for daily mass. If that wouldn’t happen I would invoke the wrath of my hostel warden for being absent.
As much as I had my faith deep-rooted, I hated being told how to display my faith. I feel it’s a heart to heart connection with me and the Lord, and that’s how it should be.
Coming back to my early morning routine, once back from mass a quick breakfast and then my college lectures and assignments took most of the day.
I would manage to get extra books from the library by having my classmates take books for me, by way of their unused library cards.
Evenings would mean few minutes of play with friends, and play meant jumping rope, badminton, and such other activities that allowed us to move most of our muscles that were unused while we were seated all day during lectures.
Weekends would mean heading home to family and catching up with assignments en route so that time with the family was purely fun.
Fast-forward to a day now…
My priorities are still driven by my core values, family time, faith, and learning, however, there is a stark difference in my caffeine intake, my sleeping patterns, and the attention I pay to my overall well-being.
The alarm still wakes me up, and that’s one invention of mankind I hate the most, I mean who loves an alarm?
As I wake up I put my mobile to charge while I head over to get some breakfast ready.
It’s a bowl of freshly chopped seasonal fruits followed by a bowl of cereal after a few minutes.
I then head to the shower and later spend a couple of minutes praying and pondering over the day.
This could be anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour depending on the conversation I am having with the Lord. I feel centered and ready to take on the day when I spend this time. Whereas on days when I hit the snooze button too many times and have to cram in other routines, I feel the drag and strain on my energy.
Getting my ten years old ready for her online classes (owing to COVID-19), while working from home during the pandemic and having her finish her breakfast is another routine that takes up a lot of time and energy. However, I cherish her and no matter how much she tries to get under my skin, we end up with a warm hug and kiss.
It’s finally time for breakfast, after having some fruits, I enjoy my freshly brewed coffee, soaking in its aroma, blessing the person who discovered God’s best creation of this beverage.
If you are a coffee lover like me, I bet you understand my feeling. I don’t have to explain much.
Mid-morning I have my bowl of cereal topped with fruits again.
Did I tell you how much I love fruits? In our small hometown, growing up with fruit trees in our backyard, we did not have to visit the market to stock up. All we had to do was scan the branches for ripe fruits, pluck and eat them.
However, It’s only recently I started eating them at the right time though, first thing in the morning.
I wonder why Adam and Eve had to leave the garden, there would be fresh produce easily available whenever a person was hungry, and we did not have to worry about organic food, the chemicals we are putting into our bodies, and so on.
Anyway, Adam and Eve have long gone, and we are left to make the best of what we have. No complaints. But the day I get to meet them in heaven, I am sure going to tell them what a mistake they had made by eating the forbidden fruit and getting thrown out of the garden.
Apart from fresh and delicious fruits, Music is something that makes my heart jump around like popcorn, and my playlist in the morning and evening varies completely. Let me leave the playlist for another article, else that will take up most of this space. Lol. Let me know if you would love to know what I listen to, and I’ll know I’m not boring you to death here that you want to hop onto reading something else.
Music gets me in a creative zone, I could be listening to my favorite songs and preparing for my tests or writing the best piece of poetry I could. On days when I do not listen to music enough, I see my creativity levels drop. So I know I need to plug in my headphones and turn up the volume to get it flowing.
Evenings have me with my HIIT workouts for at least 10-15 minutes on alternate days, if I cannot make it every day. My accountability partner is my daughter, we workout together. When she was 5 or 6 I don’t recollect exactly her age then, but I remember her accompanying me to the gym and she wanted to workout on heavy equipment where her tiny legs couldn’t even reach the pedals. She is more flexible than me, no comparison at all in fact on flexibility, so sometimes I’m at the receiving end of her jokes.
We listen to our favorite songs while we do our jumping jacks, planks, and other exercises. My Pilates instructor Dr. Pramila is my inspiration for the fusion of exercises, and so we mix basic and advanced Pilates, HIIT, and yoga to move from warm-up mode to heart-racing ones and then cooling down.
The time just after exercise is a gold mine. I accidentally stumbled upon this block and do not waste this time at all. I use this time frame to work on a creative project like the one you are reading or write a few words for my book.
I enjoy my shower and then spend some time praying and reflecting again. This time can not be traded off for anything in the world. Thinking through what had gone the right way and what could have been done better helps me set the tone for the next day and see where the needle is on against my goals both short-term and long-term.
During dinner, as a family, we watch a bit of television while we catch up on our day.
My daughter usually does her assignments by herself and very rarely seeks my support now. Enabling her with the tools and the mindset that she can find anything she needs an answer for, all she has to do is seek it, has given us both more calm and peace and time for ourselves.
While we share our day explaining what excited us or who got under our skin and why, we become more aware of the emotions the other is dealing with, and become pillars of strength and gentle reminders that we can take on the world, and not let anything stop us from achieving our dreams. We reflect on at least 3 things that we were grateful for during that day and have an option of sharing what it was.
As a family, we do engage in board games like Ludo, Monopoly, or Carrom depending on the time and day, where late evenings would translate to a ten or fifteen minutes game, while weekends would be an hour or two at leisure.
A quick hug and kiss to tuck her in bed and I continue with my work and/or learning until I feel sleepy and call it a day, mostly past midnight. This year I’m hoping to add an extra hour of sleep by gradually reducing my waking time by a few minutes each day.
And if you were wondering what happens to screen time of socials, I restrict myself to once or twice a day when I post content and engage with my friends. Notifications are all turned off on my mobile including messaging notifications to avoid being distracted through the day.
Weekends are a time to reflect on how the week was, plan for the week ahead, and short getaways to rejuvenate and re-energize. I feel frequent and short breaks work best for me than fewer and longer vacations.
I’m so glad are you are still here, reading until the end, and interested in what my day looks like. Let me know what resonated with you, what is something you would like to pick from and give it your flavor, and if you think this would make an interesting read for someone you know, feel free to share.
Bonus: Don’t schedule every minute of your life. Leave room for spontaneity and decision-making to lift your mood, feed your emotions, and most importantly feel in control of your day and life.
I would safely love to think that you enjoyed reading this. Drop me an email, and I will notify you of new releases that you will enjoy.
To your continued happiness,
Aureen M. Monteiro