When I’m tired or in pain, I make bad choices. That is to say, I stop making choices really, so the default choice applies and that’s invariably a bad thing. I think I make a choice to make things a little easier on myself, to relax and chill out for a bit, but what inevitably happens is that I default back to what I think is relaxing and restful; I default into internet, television, eating when I’m not hungry.

Last night – well actually for about 24 hours, so all the way from the previous night – I had a headache. Headache is a bit of an understatement, and while it wasn’t a full-blown migraine, there were accompanying aura-like symptoms and a squeezing that travelled all the way down to my neck. Even minor sounds like the television were aggravating it and I found it difficult to cope when multiple people were talking at once, especially if children (mine or friend’s) started doing some four-year-old style shrieking.

So I went to bed after dinner. Good call, right?

I think it would have been if I’d gone to sleep after dinner. I did a modicum of work planning, and so I knew how very much work I have on my plate right now, and I made the (probably right) decision to do nothing and have a rest. But then.

I watched some TV and I read some articles and I posted on Facebook.

And I got up and moved and the pain in my head told me I was hungry. In fact long after I’d eaten way more than my fill, the pain in my head kept telling me that I was hungry. It took me a while to cop to what was happening, and I felt a bit stunned by how strong that compulsion was. I’d move in or out of bed, my head would pound and some part of me would go “Oh, I’d better eat something.”. I even caught my legs several times on the way out to the kitchen. I wasn’t hungry at all – I wasn’t even emotionally hungry in the way I’ve experienced before – there was almost a direct link between feeling pain and thinking I should eat. I guess that is what’s sometimes happened with food and emotional pain, it was just interesting to see it in the context of physical pain.

So then I meditated for a while. And I found a whole bunch of people judgment and self-judgement floating around inside of me. At one stage when I was focusing on my breath I noticed that with each new breath came another word or sentence of judgement. Either about myself or someone else. It was strugglesome to both accept it and let it pass by at the same time.

And I noticed how tired I was and how much I was physically in need of rest, and I concurred with my earlier assessment that an evening of rest was needed. I went further in my assessment. Sleep was required. I’d already stayed awake later than necessary.

So then, right when I was sleepiest and totally ready for restful dreaming and the knitting up of my ravelled care-sleeves, you can guess what I did: I woke myself up. I got my head-pained body out of bed and tracked down an iPad so that I could flash bright hurtful colours in my eyes, and tune myself out of my life with story-tv.


“I don’t know why!” shouts the petulant responsibility-ducking child-part of me.

I just want someone to make it better. It’s someone else’s fault, right? Someone didn’t tell me what to do. Someone didn’t make me make the right choices. Anyway I was sick and I deserved to have a break.

And sleeping wasn’t the kind of “break” I meant. If I went to sleep I’d miss out of the opportunity to spend some time switched off from my life. Isn’t sleep exactly that though?!

Well, the only conclusion I can come to is that when tired and in pain I make bad choices.  Or non-choices, which are effectively the same thing.

Other than that, how was the day Mrs. Lincoln?

It was actually fine. Time passes, as it is wont to do, and even the classes that feel stressful and for which I feel underprepared pass by and get completed, regardless of how prepared I am or not. And that is one of the great advantages of teaching over other types of work. Time – for better or worse – crosses a lot of items off a to-do list. Done or not, they become irrelevant.

Today is probably my busiest teaching day of the week – I’ll be tired at the end of it, but one step closer to the weekend. Where I’ve committed to even more work. And no drawing in the bank for this Friday.