For years, my life was dictated by the school day and The School Calendar. I knew what time I had to be awake, what time everyone else had to be awake, what time breakfast needed to be ready, what time I needed to be home or at the school for pick up, what time dinner needed to be cooked, what time practices/rehearsals/lessons/meetings/performances/games would begin and end. Although my days still held many unknowns, there was comfort in knowing the predictable rhythm of the day.
My annual ritual was to get a new calendar and immediately fill in the dates from the school calendar so I would know when the half days, days off, and vacations would be. My framework for the year was pretty much laid out and determined by what I neatly wrote on those pages. As I carefully printed (and color-coded) the times and dates of all the individual activities, I started to get a sense of what my life would be like for the coming year. As a busy mother to two active daughters, I knew that the schedule would present challenges but I appreciated the clarity of knowing what I was in for. It helped us function as an active family. In fact, we would have not been able to manage life without it.
Over time, I also started to resent the power of "the schedule". Just once I wanted to be able to commit to an appointment or event without checking and double checking the master calendar. I longed to plan a vacation that didn't fit into the neat little confines of the same days off that everyone else had. But alas, the cost of a misplaced dentist appointment or a carelessly agreed to social outing was too great- one little misstep could cause the wheels to come off the family bus and the chaos that ensued was not worth it. So, for 15 years or so I lived by that darn schedule. My kids would harass me about it.
As my girls graduated from high school and I inched closer to empty nesting, I started to get excited about the idea of schedule freedom. I began fantasizing about what I would do with all of my time and how wonderful it would be to sleep past 6 am for the first time in years, or travel in the offseason, or schedule appointments without performing the mental gymnastics of how that would impact "the schedule". What would that be like?!?