Things are rarely truly random – we are creatures of habit
I try to see patterns in my life, especially when I do inexplicable things. Things I KNOW will interfere with writing.
I know I need to get to bed by a regular hour. Then I will wake up early enough so that I KNOW there really isn’t much out there on the web of new content I MUST keep up with, and I’m in reasonably good mental shape: I use Freedom to block the web, and then get to work writing, using the early muddle-headedness in writing about writing, or in writing about why I can’t seem to get started on the writing today, and we’re off… and writing, in my safe little internet-blocked writing world.
And the system works its way reasonably quickly to actually working on the work-in-progress, and having something to say, and figuring out where to go next. Working the ‘process’ steps.
But late nights work out badly the next day.
I wake up at the same time – but without having anywhere near enough sleep, and get up and try to function anyway, sensing that sticking to a ‘usual’ time to be up is somehow beneficial, leading eventually to my brain always being up and ready at this time. Or I wake up late, already behind in the day’s work, and unable to block the internet for hours, making myself even later; some work eventually gets done, but the rest of the day – and everything I’m behind on or have to do today – is weighing on my mind, competing fiercely with the writing for my attention, leaving me even more exhausted than usual, and unable to do the OTHER stuff – and so, further behind.
As a sentient being, I try to figure these things out.
Caught: another pesky bad habit
I think I caught another one last night: sometimes, when I can’t get to sleep, it’s because of an excess of ‘good’ stuff happening too late at night.
Intermittently – long-interval intermittent positive reinforcement is THE most powerful form of reinforcement there is – one of the kids will call and, it being late at night, be in a talkative mood. I treasure these calls – can only get them when THEY are in the mood, and would never turn one away. At times they have been extremely necessary for the well-being of the child in question, and I am happy to have been up and available to talk them down off a metaphorical ledge.
But I note these are more and more infrequent, as the kids become more and more adept at handling their own life crises – and they KNOW (I tell them often enough) that if they NEED me, they should call my cell, which is there for that express purpose, and that I do NOT mind being woken, whatever time it is. They need to know there is one person in their life who will do that. Every time. As long as I possibly can. So it shouldn’t keep me up regularly.
Last night the ‘good’ was wonderful: our eldest called (at a very decent time – 9pm our time) from Hawaii, WITH his girlfriend, to tell us he and she have made the most momentous decision in their lives: to choose each other.
After that, and figuring out that they weren’t trying to keep it a secret (thank you, Facebook), I spent some time sending emails to family and close friends who would want to be informed. Still smiling, I am.
Not the problem’s fault
But that does not excuse me from not preparing for the consequences today: back pain kept me up doing stretches, etc., longer than usual, too, which again is not a problem.
My reaction this MORNING is the problem: I didn’t allow for the FACT that mental debris accumulates in my brain from an excess of ANYTHING, including pain and joy, and I needed to take that into account TODAY.
What should I have done? Take my morning pills (B1, a pain pill) immediately, and then GO BACK TO SLEEP. Take FIRST NAP. Do some extra MENTAL DIALYSIS. Because I sure needed it.
I’m railing here not about taking care of special circumstances (including church music yesterday that was extremely difficult, very rewarding, and required a much longer rehearsal and a lot of extra work), but of me not planning in advance and remembering to help my brain-fogged self cope with what I should have known – and now do (let’s see if I can remember next time, which is why I write these things down): that extra stress (good and bad) is going to require extra REST, over and over, until I compensate for the extra load on my system, physical and mental.
My fault: not preparing for the KNOWN consequences
If I had thought about that in advance, I would have realized that I would need the almost-immediate help of lying down for the rests that help me clear my mind AS SOON AS I GOT UP: get up; take pills; drink water; go back to bed.
There was going to be extra junk in the system, and I would also have to compensate for having had less and less-normal sleep, and there was no point in arguing about it.
There is ALWAYS extra junk in the system – and extra brain-fog – after late nights and after days with too much ‘stuff’ in them, good OR bad.
So what DID I do? I argued. With myself.
Arguing about it is what I did this morning: surfing, whining to myself ABOUT surfing, and resetting 20 minute timers over and over (should have used the 5 or 10 minute ones for more regular jolts), and not getting to sleep/rest until I absolutely couldn’t put it off another instant.
Arguing about it with myself just wastes my own time.
I will try to learn – there is always a next time.
I keep trying to refine my management of my own addled self – that’s what we’re here for, isn’t it? And Pride’s Children STILL isn’t writing itself.