Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

Out of routine comes inspiration.” Mark Kostabi

I’m about to tell you something you already know. I like routine.It’s how I get things done. And I like getting things done. As I tell anyone prepared to listen, I can handle any amount of work (or at least I think I can), but it’s very difficult for me to be stalled. About a hundred years ago, an acquaintance I’d only met briefly through a project I was involved in said, “if a wall is placed in your way, you wouldn’t go around it. You’re one of those people who likes to go straight through.” I can’t recall what our discussion was about, but he had me pegged. 

So what to do given our current COVID-19 crisis? How do I move forward?

I think everyone has to answer this question for themselves and build their routine around their individual answers and schedules. 

For me, it starts with making lists. At the top of the list are the things I have to do every single day: meditate, write, exercise, walk, call or email friends, read. Similar to the plight of prisoners in novels and movies who marked the passing of time through scratches on a wall; I put a stroke beside each of these activities (not on a wall, even though four walls surround me) as I complete them each day. At the end of the week, the strokes amount to what I have accomplished. It’s evidence I’m not at a complete standstill. This is good for my soul.

Sure, there are other measures of achievement I feel—a sense of serenity, word count accumulation (even when there are few), muscle and cardio strength, connections maintained with others as well as to literature—but these lists and the routine they represent, yes, give me comfort, but also ensure, in this time of utter suspension, I’m still moving things forward, still knocking down that wall.

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