One pandemic day looks much like another. I track the calendar by weekly routines: Tuesday trash pickup, Wednesday laundry, Thursday groceries. Chores will remain in post-pandemic life, of course, but people and places and activities will reintroduce variety.
Rituals, like routines, can look the same from day to day. The difference is that rituals are infused with meaning and intention. Some writers begin their pen-to-paper or hand-to-keyboard time with a ritual to focus the mind: light a candle, or meditate, or sip coffee and watch the sun rise. “Meaningless ritual” is an oxymoron. Repetition without presence or meaning is merely routine.
Any routine can be converted to ritual with mindfulness. Washing the dishes to wash the dishes. Feeling the warmth of clean towels as you fold. At the same time, I cherish the inclusion of mindless routines in the mix, activities so habitual that my thoughts can wander free. Being fully present is a wonderful thing. So, to me, is the unfocused state in which imagination runs rampant, untethered to the here and now.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.