I've never been a fan of routine and regimentation. Unless it's coffee first thing in the morning. But all of us have a list of 'got to do's' just to break even in life. Some people thrive on that list. I suspect these are the left brain people, a nice orderly people that feel a sense of accomplishment putting a slash of ink through undone business. I inhabit the other side of my brain mostly, and circle round a task, picking off lesser 'to do's' until I hone in on what really needs to be done. But I take satisfaction in crossing the 'got to do's' off my list, too.
We know the chaos of widowhood, when the foreign tasks of closing a life rudely push aside routine and the solace it can bring. Executor duties are complicated, tedious, and frustrating, but they do end, because Uncle Sam insists on it. Closing a life's history and meaning take far longer. These overwhelming tasks replace the routines that once grounded our lives. It's like cleaning up after the tornado that decimated your house and whole town. At least that was the way it was for me. I needed to clean up, move on, and make a new life. If I was fortunate, I'd find new satisfactions that would be as deep as the satisfactions I knew as a lover and wife. Life would be lighthearted once again. My humor would return.
It became really clear to me early on that I would have to develop new systems, from meal planning (alone) to paying taxes (alone), to updating my home to accommodate my capabilities (alone), to maintaining vehicles (alone), to gaining proficiency with technology (alone), to building a social life for one (alone), to ensuring my emotional health (alone), to reviving my physical health (alone), to enlivening my mental health (alone). Did I mention alone? No matter how many loving friends, family, and professional support I had to buttress these efforts, they began with me. Damned if I felt capable.
Here was a fantastic opportunity to build my life from the ground up. To establish new healthy routines. Only thing - where was the enthusiasm? I was in survival mode.
Six years out, I'm past survival mode. I've acquired so many new skills I can't count them all. Yes, enthusiasm waxes and wanes. But it is here. There's still precious little I like to do once a day every day, but that's just fine. It's just my right brain self doing her thing.