When I was younger (what a way to start anything, and I seem to use it all too frequently!) I used to be a “Night Owl” vs a “Morning Lark”. My favourite way to study would be to start around 8pm and keep going until dawn was breaching the sky. Then I’d sleep ’til 2pm, 4pm, later on occasion! and do it all again. I liked the image of myself as a “creature of the night”, the usual nerdy obsession with vampires having started around age 9 with a copy of the “Misty” comic.
Then came work and the need to share human hours with the rest of the world. I managed it pretty okay, but never really liked it. Flexible working hours meant I’d usually come in on the later side of things and work into the evening. Occasionally I’d come in super early instead, but that was mostly influenced by my 6 month stint dating a guy who liked mornings and my desire to spend some daylight hours on the side of a mountain somewhere. And at the same time, nights out drinking and carousing and owning the night (whether I would remember it or not). But of course, I wasn’t really sleeping more than 4 hours a night at that time. I didn’t even feel like a candle being burned at both ends. I felt like a goddamned Rocket Man. Or, baby, a firework.
The same attitude persisted in Japan; working for a startup, working for myself, all-nighters of work, followed by all-dayers of touristing and day-drinking, maybe a shower, maybe a nap, and do it all again.
Given how much I seem to need sleep and rest at the moment, I’m kind of seeing that yeah, I was probably not doing okay. I thought I was doing amazingly of course.
And now anything less than that level of productivity feels like a failure. Yeah. Anything less than crazy and unsustainable levels of doing feels like “not good enough”. No wonder I spend so much time feeling vaguely disappointed with myself.
Something shifted in me in recent years. Like so many other changes in my body, spirit and perspective, children were at least a partial trigger. Maybe they are coincidental though. Maybe it’s just time and age, “maturity”, a rigidly scheduled job and being out of the crazy hyper world of IT entepreneurship.
Whatever the cause now my limited pool of energy is full in the morning and is drained to sticky mud by dinnertime each evening. And maybe there’s the potential for it refilling with the magic “work all night” sparkling liquid of yore, but I don’t go there. I don’t mind not going there, I think that’s an unhealthy draught to be drinking of all that deeply, but … well, look, it’s the same old boring complaint I’ve been harping on for months: I just want to spend less of my life in that sticky mud.
I’m tired of making excuses for myself too. I’m starting to get bored of listening to myself, like a broken record re-resolving to “fail better” and “stay aware” and be fucking mindful at a time when all I want to do is switch my brain off.
Last night I pushed through to cleaning kitchen and making lunches and doing useful stuff that PresentMe really appreciates from PastMe. But … it never feels like enough, and tonight I’ll have to fight that self-same battle all over again. And that gets really draining. I don’t feel like the battle is ever any easier. It doesn’t matter what I pick to do – even something self-sustaining and just for myself like drawing? – uh-uh, how about something braindead like entering data into our finances spreadsheet? – nope! picking stuff up so I wake to a nicer environment? – hell no!
Nada. Not a thing.
Oh, daydreams are okay. Poking around the internet for things that I can imagine myself having time for “when I’m perfect and have a handle on life”. Or holidays or houses or courses. Anything but what’s current. And mostly just worthless tv.
Okay, pretty good tv when it comes down to it. But consuming that media doesn’t keep me from doing other things at the same time. I keep myself from it. “I’m tired.” Sure, I actually am tired, I even drifted off to sleep for five minutes while the boys were eating their dinner. I don’t like doing that really. There should probably be a conscious adult in the house at all times when they’re awake. I was borderline conscious though.
So. I don’t know. Maybe I do know sometimes. But today I mostly feel like I don’t know. I”m just going to keep on keeping on for a few days and not even going to push for solutions. Maybe if I step back on my pushing something will come to the surface for me.
We can but hope.