This is how it is everyday.
Eyes open against pillow. I feel like I’m always waking up. I twist my neck to check the digital clock. It’s too early or too late. I’m either awake and ready for more sleep, or sluggish and slept too long.
Dry mouth. Consciousness fights the remaining dream fragments, and all the images projected like colorful shadows across the screen imagination only sees stubbornly fade slowly.
Autopilot through the urination routine. Bathroom fans and the flush, moving water, moving air, incandescent light and puffy facial skin dented by sheet and pillow creases. Wild hair, mussed like a found doll’s, lost on a closet floor far too long.
My get-ready shower turns me back into myself. High pitched running water. Splashes and drain gurgles echo against tile. Expensive shampoo smells like flowery chemicals and resets my hair. Moisturizing soap washes away yesterday, but never fully rinses off. I linger for a moment longer than I need to, bathed in steam and hot water, putting off the coldness I’ll face while toweling off. Why is it always freezing in here?
Boxer shorts. Deodorant. T-shirt. Toothpaste. Spit and rinse. Shaving cream. Sensitive skin. Aftershave balm. Hair gel. Pants and socks. Ready to face another day. Ready to put myself through the same set of motions that always leads me right back to where I am right now.
Perhaps we could all benefit from forcing ourselves to see the most mundane of our daily rituals from a fresh perspective. Perhaps we should change the order of our routines. Break brand loyalties. Introduce new elements. Begin living consciously. Interrupt the rut to which we’ve been mindlessly giving ourselves over.
I saw an old gentleman in Venice, Italy. A local guy. Out on his morning errands. He bought a bag of fruit from a merchant; exchanged smiles and warm conversation as he handed over the money.
I followed him, at his slow pace, through a brick tunnel — one I’m certain he’s walked through a thousand times before, on mornings just like this one. This was his routine.
As he exited the tunnel, into blinding autumn sunshine, he stopped for a moment. Raising his eyes skyward, he looked around at a place he already intimately knew. I could feel his appreciation of the beauty of this particular place and day.
The man closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Just watching him made me more aware of the sounds of life and nature in La Serenissima.
A reminder to slow down and be present.
Your sleeping and waking routine. Your drive to work. The people you interact with. The foods you eat. The weather conditions. Your significant other. The things you’ve done a million times before. There’s more to find in all of them than we’ve been seeing all along.
Learn to live like a tourist in your workaday life.
‘Don’t miss the wonders that surround you…Always try to see life around ya as if you’d just come out of a tunnel.’