Since the beginning of the war, I’ve noticed a significant reduction in my activities, essentially I am doing the same things everyday, five days a week. In addition, I’ve become somewhat rigid in my schedule, almost as if any change might disrupt the delicate balance I’ve maintained over the past 45 days.
In the past, the word routine carried a negative connotation for me, synonymous with a boring and monotonous lifestyle. I used to make fun of my “boring” friends who insisted on telling me the virtues of routine. When my mother mentioned how, after a vacation, she always looks forward to being home again, sleeping in her own bed, and resuming her regular schedule. I pitied her inability to make the most of her freedom and to derive joy from traveling.
But my mother was right of course during hard times a routine is an anchor, and a way to regain some kind of control. I first recognized the value of routine when I lost my husband. It was summer, and right after the Shiva, the summer semester began, and I was scheduled to teach a course. I chose to go ahead with the original plan. It transpired that teaching during that time turned out to be one of the best decisions I made. While my world had stopped due to my husband’s death, everyone around me carried on as if nothing had happened. Teaching provided a temporary respite, allowing me to rejoin the world, if only for a short while.
During class I was able not to think about my loss and just focus on the teaching and the students. I don’t think that my students were aware of my recent loss,I hadn’t told them and felt relieved that they saw no body. Returning to the routine of teaching, engaging in something familiar and enjoyable, helped me in coping with my personal tragedy.
It seems that maintaining a daily routine is beneficial for handling both personal and collective tragedies. At this time, it holds particular significance for children, especially evacuee children whose lives have been shattered. It’s incredibly important for them to resume schooling.
It took a personal tragedy, an epidemic, and a national tragedy for me to fully realize that routine isn’t only for boring people; quite the contrary, people, like children, need some form of routine to overcome hard times