By: Shannon Boatwright
I recently read an article in the September 2016 issue of Readers Digest. It completely fascinated me and well, frustrated me. The article is titled “The Daily Routines of Geniuses,” written by Sarah Green Carmichael from the Harvard Business Review. She talks about how she has spent her life searching for the ideal daily routine and how a book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work fascinated her. She shares all of these fabulous tidbits of information about artists’ daily habits… artists ranging from Jane Austin to Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Beethoven, Ernest Hemingway, Arthur Miller, Mozart, Andy Warhol and Picasso. She’s right, “the routines of these thinkers are strangely compelling.” Many of them took daily walks, sometimes for up to three hours! And that was part of their daily routine, part of what helped provide inspiration and rejuvenation for their inner spirit, their mindset, their physical wellbeing, for their talents.
It is compelling indeed, mostly because I cannot imagine ever having the time to take long walks like these late greats did, much less do it daily! Many of these genius minds would spend their mornings engaging in their main talent, whether painting, writing, composing, etc, then they’d spend the afternoon doing “busywork.” As I read the article, the entire time I couldn’t stop thinking, yea that was THEN! Way back then when there were no constant, overwhelming sources of communication and interruptions of everyday modern life. No emails, texts, distracting Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram photos… no absurd job requirements, work hours, traffic, endless bills… I could go on and on. But let’s face it, way back in the day, life was flat out simpler.
I’ve written in the past about one of my mantras, which is Carpe Diem… Seize the Day! I do my best in this modern day and age to seize my days, making the very best of them. It’s not always easy and some days it seems near impossible. So I must admit that when I think of the days when some of our famous artistic idols lived and created, there is a part of me that is incredibly jealous of the time they had to focus on their physical, mental and artistic well-being. Now, I know some of them worked better in other circumstances and under certain influences, but the daily routines of so many of our late greats truly were what we would call a luxury nowadays. I start to think… how could I actually achieve that kind of time? Time in my daily life that would allow me to take long walks and rejuvenate my body inside and out. When I really think about it, I’m dumbfounded! I figure I’d either have to win the lottery or become a really well-off retiree. Or I’d have to never sleep. And I promise you, getting no sleep is not a possible part of my life if I want to actually stay alive.
So how do we conquer the modern day nonsense that keeps so many of us from living that dream-daily-routine, blessed life? What would be your ideal daily routine? Quite honestly, in this very moment, I’m so exhausted from a long day teaching, among many other things, my mind is mush and I just don’t even know where to begin to answer that question for myself. Maybe a super long, relaxing walk would do the trick. If only I didn’t have to get up in a few hours when my alarm goes off way too early tomorrow morning.