Yesterday, it was my happy privilege to assist at the therapeutic riding facility when some younger clients came in for a group lesson. The morning was hot, busy, and a little on the hectic side. These were not seasoned riders, and keeping everybody safe and happy–horses, volunteers, and riders–took some serious coordination and good will.
And a lot of reminders to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
I used to spend much of my day around little people, and court days in particular were hectic, with this case being heard while that one was in recess, then the recessed case being re-called, until the judge declared a comfort break or some child had a meltdown right there in the courtroom…
I had about a 30-minute commute at the end of a court day, which helped me change gears, so what happened in court didn’t haunt me all through the night (though some of those cases still haunt me). I also made it a point to get out of my courtroom attire as soon as I walked in the door at home. No putting the kettle on, starting dinner, no nothing, until I’d donned my comfy clothes. In winter, building a fire in the wood stove helped–a simple, comforting, little chore that made the house cozy and got the potpourri steaming.
At the therapeutic riding barn, I’m not an old hand, but I’m not a complete beginner either. I’m a little of both, so the time spent there doesn’t qualify as relaxing (yet). I experience both confidence and anxiety in any given five minutes. Every little thing I do wrong-ish bothers me A LOT, and just being around new people is also an effort (though they seem to be wonderful people).
So it occurred to me that I need to reinstate, or maybe reinvent, those changing-gears rituals. To put in place some punctuation marks that end the barn sessions, and launch the “you’re home now” business. I need some little symbols on the page of my day that signal a scene change.
Yesterday, I did shuck out of my riding clothes, I checked the mail, I walked around the property collecting my flopped over gladiolus for a bouquet, I played Wordle (held out as long as I could), I did a couple jig saw puzzles. I’m not sure that’s the right combination of re-orienting activities, because too much of that list is what I do at the end of a writing session. The barn time is a different sort of challenge.
But it’s early days. Maybe stopping for a cold root beer slushie will make the list, or maybe I’ll stumble onto something else that works even better (hard to imagine). How do you shift gears, or put a challenge away until the next time it comes around on the schedule?
PS Lord Julian’s first three books finally got their covers, and I love them!