Welcome. It’s Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, and as I’m writing this, it’s 71 degrees and raining here in New York City.
Jennifer Just, a reader from Woodbridge, Conn., begins her days by noting the day of the week, date and weather at the top of a scrap paper, then proceeds to fill in everything she plans to do with her time, hour by hour, including chores and errands. This tiny routine helps give her days structure.
I appreciate this kind of routine, as a means of giving some form to an otherwise indistinct span of time. It was just about a year ago that I suggested keeping a log book, a low-effort diary in which you jot down a few notes — no detail too mundane — about what happened that day. And so many readers did: Check out some entries here. (Are you still keeping a log book? Let me know how it’s going.)
A couple of weeks ago I asked how you’re keeping one day from blurring into the next. Here are some more responses, edited for length and clarity.
“Keep the days from blurring? That’s a joke. But after a year and a half I’ve learned to look for the clues. If our street is lined with trash containers, it’s Monday. If all the lawn services are about, it’s Thursday or Friday. I can’t count the number of days I’ve ‘lost’ during this thing.” —Andrea Miller, Michigan
“Most of the time I do not remember what day of the week it is. And it’s often catastrophic when I take the day as a Monday and relax, when actually the day is Friday and I should be teaching a class of kids. Therefore I have assigned different days to different nighttime activities, which I, without fail, repeat every week. For example, every Thursday I sit to check the week’s homework so that I can take it up with the kids on Friday during their class. While Friday nights are Netflix nights, Mondays are reserved for book reading and journaling and Wednesdays are set aside for crime and detective podcasts.” —Hritam Mukherjee, Kolkata, India
“I try to stop the blur from one day to the next by changing my bike ride each time I go out. Last Sunday morning I came across a field near my house that I didn’t know existed.” —Glen C. Greenwood, Toronto
“I realized this week that my daily existence has become a merge of two movies: ‘Groundhog Day’ and ‘The Shining.’ I am avoiding alarm clock radios and sharp objects.” —Patty Bell, Dahlonega, Ga.
“Different rooms have different tasks or activities associated with them. When I start to feel like they are blending together again I will rearrange items and furniture to create new-feeling spaces.” —Rella Madeline Arena, Atlanta
“Being at home most of the time, I have discovered that I can program tasks to the delightful sound of the church bells in my neighborhood. Five times a day the lovely ringing reminds me to carry out basic daily routines (such as meals, paperwork and passive entertainment) within a self-developed schedule that is amazingly reassuring. Who was to tell me that I had such a pleasant resource at hand!” —Jacqueline Biscombe, San Juan, P.R.
Changing the subject.
Our reams of fretting essays about how much the kids love phones tend to ignore who gave them phones in the first place. We are like parents who left the liquor cabinet unlocked and are shocked to come home and smell the children’s breath — except we’re making money, so maybe we are more like those 18th-century Britons who shipped opium to China.
—From “How Far Can You Go to Resist Being the Subject of a Viral Video?” by Dan Brooks.
How are you leading a full and cultured life, at home and away? What are you watching, reading, listening to or cooking? Write to us: [email protected]. Be sure to include your full name and location and we might feature your response in a future newsletter. We’re At Home and Away. We’ll read every letter sent. More ideas for passing the time appear below. See you on Friday.