An Ode to Undying Routines, Falling-down Barns, and the Sweet Smell of Hay in the Air as I Drive Home from a Day that Has Left Me Creative
I have always been a city girl. But, boy, am I glad that my parents live out in the middle of nowhere. Whenever my life feels a little bit too messy to handle (which, honestly, New York tends to do to my brain a lot), their house in the boondocks of Upstate New York provides the perfect escape. Something about waking up with no one across the street and only my dogs to answer to allows me to settle more clearly into my routine: a ten-minute drive, around 8am, along the lake to my favorite coffee shop, where I’ll spend the next four hours, writing idly. Where, at some point, I’ll happily gulp down some iced coffee and a perfect sesame bagel with cream cheese for sustenance, and I’ll feel completely at peace - as the coffee shop regulars come in and out and as the coffee shop owner roasts coffee beans about five feet away – knowing that I’m getting things done on my own deadline.
It’s heaven, the realization that some people choose to live their lives more slowly than all of the crazy New Yorkers I usually surround myself with. Something about that slowing down makes the days feel longer and makes me feel more compelled to create; somehow, more honest with myself in creating.
In New York, it’s easy to feel like I’m creating for the wrong reasons, like creativity is a means to an end. Like writing is about just getting content out there in order to get paid, or to get the next blog post out, or to build the next block of my portfolio. And that should not be the message I am sending myself, even on the worst of days.
Of course, there is drudgery in even the dreamiest of lives. But creative time should be sacred, and there are ways to create a routine around it that keeps it so. So, that’s why I love my Upstate time. It is my gentle reminder to instate that sacred routine back home, in the city. To create those rituals that will protect the way I feel about my work – a nice walk in the morning on my way to a sunny café; some tea to sip on as I type; the right music to accompany the right piece. Those are the things that keep us grounded in who we are while the whole world moves around us.