Work it! My new routine
Nope, not a dance routine. No-one needs to see what happens when the holy disco spirit enters me. Let’s just say it’s very white.
The year before I moved to Munich, I worked on an intense project with one of the best groups of people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. We put in long, hard hours and since there was a bar right under the office we often ended up drinking sometimes three nights a week. It wasn’t FOMO, it (probably wasn’t) alcoholism or peer pressure – we just loved hanging out.
But it meant I had no routine. I was frequently hungover, I never prepared food for the following day, I gained weight and lost energy and my relationship suffered. Money was also pouring through my fingers, wasted on taxis, drinks, bar snacks and lunch each day.
Around that time, I started to think I might benefit from at least some kind of routine. Don’t get me wrong, if I don’t see several blank days in my calendar each week – for spontaneity, nights I just want to be alone, time to meet friends, days I want to take advantage of the weather and walk and be outside – I start to panic and feel claustrophobic.
But several things happen to me, especially here in Munich, if I do not have a routine.
1. I don’t cook. I haven’t been cooking that long, but I am learning slowly and enjoying the process. (My boyfriend and friends who are regularly the guinea pigs might be less keen!) But Munich is a city where coeliac’s disease is all but unknown. You can find selected GF items in the expensive stores, and there are two pizza restaurants that cater to us. But if you go to a run-of-the-mill wirtshaus (traditional guesthouse) or restaurant and start asking about ingredients, you’re not going to be popular.
“No,” I’ve been snapped at several times, “there’s no breadcrumbs in the sausages. Of course not!” And then I try to explain in my broken German that it’s not just that, it’s most grains, most sauces, any bread, soy sauce, etc. I feel princessy. I get a “look” and then my sausages will come without sauce as requested…accompanied by a fat slice of bread or a salad with croutons. Or the chicken in my carefully selected salad will be crumbed. Or the fresh fish will be dipped in flour before being slapped on the grill, despite the waiter’s assurance that won’t happen. I often become desperately sick after I eat out. And our company canteen is the worst. They even marinate the salad vegetables in something I can’t have.
So if I don’t have time to cook, I really suffer. I’d never deliberately eat something with gluten in it but the hungrier I get, the more desperate and willing to try I get. And until people here learn more about coeliac’s disease, I’m only really safe if I cook for myself.
2. I don’t work out. I am not what you would call a natural exerciser. In fact, there’s almost nothing I won’t do to avoid it. I have had adult tantrums because the car was parked too far from the supermarket. My sister and I have a joke that she’s Sporty Spice and I’m Library Spice. She surfs, skates, snowboards, skis, runs and yogas. And I…don’t. Virtually the only reason I ever put sweatpants on (aside from they’re super-comfy after you’ve eaten too much) is because I have a desk job and I know how unhealthy that is.
But until I discovered CrossFit, the only thing I liked to do was swim. In fresh or saltwater. In landlocked Munich…that’s kinda hard. My skin reacts badly with chlorine and there are obviously no ocean baths here like there are at home. (The most beautiful place to swim in the entire world is posted above. Merewether Baths, Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Part of my heart swims there every day. It’s incidentally the subject of the only painting I ever did, which miraculously sold).
I have to plan my workout nights in advance and just shuffle everything else around them, or its too easy to think I’ll get to it later in the week. Of course, I can be flexible, but if I have my “nights”, friends understand that I’m not available then, or not until after I’ve worked out (and, for everyone’s benefit, showered).
3. I don’t work on my goals. Writing. Improving my German. End of (current) list. I’ve had the outline of a novel ready for the last two years. I’ve finish exactly one and a half chapters. I always said that once I earned my living through writing, I’d be happy. But I’m not. I love my job. But ghostwriting for our CEO about how the reinsurance industry can protect itself against the rising rate of natural catastrophes is not filling my creative boots. Writing makes me happy, keeps me company, gives me a sense of achievement that nothing else does. But there’s still a tendency in me to choose drinking with friends over a night at home working on my stuff.
I never really wanted to spend time in my old apartment. It was over 100 years old and musty, damp and dark due to faulty overhead wiring. It was bitterly cold even in Summer. So now that I’m happy as a piglet in my new place, I’m testing a new routine:
Monday: Groceries get delivered (which keeps me out of temptation in the supermarket). I clean the apartment, cook several meals and freeze the leftovers for work during the week. 1 hour of writing.
Tuesday: Crossfit, 1 hour of writing.
Thursday: Crossfit, 1 hour of writing.
Saturday: Crossfit in the morning. Rest of the day free.
And the bi-product of all of this? I’ll not only be healthier and happier, I’ll be saving money. A night at the gym is a night I’m not out drinking and being forced to gamble on bar snacks. Having groceries delivered is the perfect, non-negotiable excuse to be at home and preparing for my week.
And I’ll be moving closer each day to my goals. Win-win-win.
Hooray for routines! Do you have one? Or can you wing it and fly by your pants-seat?
Posted on August 15, 2014, in Game on, My Purse is Closed and tagged ambitions, finance, gluten-free, goals, how-to, humour, routine, saving, self-control, spending, willpower. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.