Animals have regular habits, which makes them predictable. They sleep, eat, hunt, mate and travel according to a timetable which, in turn, is pretty much dictated by the changing seasons. At one time, when we as a race of beings were more attuned to nature, humans followed a more-or-less regular routine. This, I believe, is healthy and good. Most people today have long since deviated from any nature-related or dependent schedule.
Regular mealtimes, or lack thereof, are a prime example of how far we have departed from what was once the norm. When I was young, we ate breakfast around 7 a.m. and had what was then termed, “dinner” at 12 noon. Supper, what people now call dinner, was set at no later than 6 p.m. Lunch was more properly termed, “a” lunch, meaning a snack. This was taken at any time.
For whatever reason or reasons, I never outgrew the regular meal schedule that I had become accustomed to as a youngster. In my circle of friends, I am pretty much alone in this, at least to the best of my knowledge. Anyway, if I miss an occasional breakfast it’s no big deal. But when noontime rolls around, I really feel hunger pangs and must eat. And to miss supper sets the stage for feeling not-so-red-hot the next day.
Many of my friends are of a habit of dropping in to visit around 6 p.m. and no matter how I plead with them to share my meal, they refuse. Back at home, most of them finally sit down to eat at 9 p.m. or even later. Anyway, these evening visits result in me putting my food away in the refrigerator, uneaten, and hungrily waiting for my visitor to leave so that I can finally sit down and eat. But by then, the much-anticipated, whatever I had prepared, has lost much of its appeal.
Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older that I tire in late afternoon. But I don’t think that completely explains it. My best working times, and that goes for mental as well as physical work, are in the morning and early afternoon. So any mid-morning or early afternoon distraction, be it visitors or phone calls, detracts from my productive time. Yet, I see my friends doing their work, whatever it is, at all different hours. It just seems that this cannot be good.
My buddy, who works in the woods with me cutting firewood on my woodlot, likes to start the workday about two hours before pitch dark. For me, that’s when I’m winding down. He wonders why I am rarely enthusiastic about going out and doing physical labor at this time of day. Again, I think that this isn’t good. Late afternoons and early evenings are for relaxing. Of course everyone hasn’t the luxury to follow my suggested routine. All I’m saying is that I see a marked difference between my habits and times of doing things and those of my friends.
It all boils down to this: I live a different kind of life than that experienced by most people. I still act and respond according to natural rhythms. And those natural rhythms tell me that a somewhat dependable, predictable routine is a good, healthful thing.