Twenty-one days into this new year, and I’ve finally found somewhat of a rhythm for several of my tasks. Teaching is easy. I’ve signed up to instruct certain classes, and I need to be in those classrooms at the times that the course schedule says I’ll be there. But my other obligations don’t fit into defined chunks of time and can, conceivably, be accomplished whenever I want. I’m not certain I’ll deal well with the ambiguity if I don’t set some limits, and soon, so I think I’ll be compiling a new Excel spreadsheet (complete with blocks of time for each task) like I did last semester. Stick with the schedule, come away feeling accomplished.

That sort of behavior–relying on a rigid set of defined terms–makes me realize just how much I thrive on routine and knowing what to expect. It also makes me feel very old, in a way. Can I no longer go with the flow? Or do I just have so many obligations that the rigid-schedule approach is simply a way of finding order in the midst of chaos?

I’m choosing to look at this situation as the latter scenario, because I’m hoping to hold onto my (very thin) ability to be malleable. That characteristic, being able to adapt and change, to find some purchase when my world is slipping this way and that, is something I’ve always battled against. It’s something I find that I need more of as the children grow up. And if my being resilient in most aspects of my life is dependent upon a few measly chunks of time blocked out on my calendar, then so be it.

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Christina Consolino is a mother, dreamer, author, editor and teacher from Dayton, Ohio. She's a member of the Plot Sisters and teaches Anatomy & Physiology at Sinclair Community College. She writes literary women's fiction, personal essays and more.