When I was a young girl I would put a movie on in my bedroom (likely Spiceworld, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, or an MK&A classic), set up a small card table, and get out my sewing materials to make all different kinds of bags. My specialty was the kind of purse you make from an old pair of jeans. My best friend and I event tried to start a business of selling them. These sewing sessions usually happened when everyone else in my family was in the living room watching football. I'd pop out long enough to indulge in the seven layer dip and party chicken wings my mom made, and then I'd head back to my room and start the machine up again.
When I was in high school we had a detailed and large Department 56 Christmas village we put up in our living room. It covered an entire bookcase along one wall, and my dad eventually built out an extra shelf to accommodate the new houses we kept adding to it. Each house lit up. There were small figurines selling pudding or flowers, building snowmen, a little Santa collecting coins for the needy, even Ebenezer Scrooge had a house and his ghosts.
Most week days I was up around 5:30am to get ready for dance practice before school. I remember loving Christmas time because the village would be lit up, the tree lights on, and I'd sit in the living room, with my bowl of cereal, and just enjoy the lights. I waited to put in my contacts so that the lights on the tree and of the village were a little fuzzy and out of focus.
As an adult I've come to recognize all of the little rituals either my parents created, or I myself eventually created. Like sewing in my room watching a movie I'd seen a hundred times before, or eating Cap n Crunch will taking in the Christmas lights.
One ritual I adopted in my early twenties is steeped in music. When John Mayer or Sara Bareilles would come out with a new album, I'd set out candles in a large circle on my living room floor at night, lay down in the middle of it, and listen to the new album all the way through. I wanted to hear it as they intended, with each track being specifically chosen in the line up.
This morning I went on a walk down by the river, another ritual I've created in the last two years, and listened to a couple John Mayer albums from start to finish. It took me back to the age and place I was in when I first listened. It reminded me of how much I've changed and in many ways grown since first listening. It was like meeting back up with an old friend and feeling the same kind of familiarity, tenderness, and love.
I like to be in control (or at least think I'm in control), I typically like order and routine, and I am a lover of rituals, big or small, shared or personal. I like the old and the new, and use them to help handle stress and anxiety, to process emotions, or to check out for a brief time and give myself a bit of respite. Every morning I drink my first cup of coffee alone with myself on my couch. This daily ritual helps me wake up, keep me grounded, and show myself a little self-care.