Ritual

The kind of rituals I’m talking about here are habitual activities I’ve created to make it through the week. I’m not exactly sure what this says about me, but right now, most of my rituals involve food.

For a while, my wife and I had takeout from my favorite Mexican restaurant every Wednesday night. It was the way we celebrated hump day. And, on Sunday nights, in the past, I would watch my favorite television show and drink a big can of Sapporo.

These aren’t exotic or sophisticated rituals. I mean, it’s not the same as coming home from a long day of work, slipping out of my suit jacket, and pouring myself a scotch. Or ending each evening out with a nightcap, but I don’t wear a suit to work. And I no longer live in a bachelor pad.

I’ve found it beneficial to have things to look forward to from time to time. And it’s possible that I don’t do it enough. Partly because there’s barely enough time to do what’s necessary on weeknights. Anything superfluous falls by the wayside

Weekends tend to offer a little more opportunity for luxuries, but obligations and responsibilities often get in the way then as well. So, even though I’d like to have rituals I perform each week (and sometimes I do), I also have some I enjoy only on occasion.

For example, whenever my wife goes somewhere, and I’m alone in the house, I put on one of my favorite albums. Then, I lie down on the couch and let Thom Yorke or whoever put me in a trance. (My wife and I don’t always like the same music.)

I tend to use rituals as rewards, but when they’re enacted to provoke certain behaviors, they come a bit closer to what they’re designed to do in a religious context. They have power—specifically, the power to motivate or to calm.

Often, calm is what I’m after—whether it be because I’m facing the week ahead or because there are still a couple of days left before the weekend.

photo: Dane Deaner

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Justin Meckes

Justin Meckes is a writer and filmmaker living in Durham, NC. His stories have been published in various online journals and magazines. He has ghostwritten a sci-fi novel and is the author of several children's books. You can reach him by sending an email to contact@justinmeckes.com.