By Mir
April 2, 2005

I woke up this morning to the drone of pounding rain. Thanks to all the snow we had this winter, and the severity of this storm system, they’re predicting New England will be experiencing some of the worst flooding it’s had in years.

Then again, “a whole heckuva lotta rain” or even “moderate flooding” probably doesn’t make for a very sensational news story.

Regardless; I am not worried about washing away. The way I see it (and how exactly is that, you ask? Why, through my half-empty glass, of course!), that would be sort of calm and peaceful. And entirely unlike the day I have planned.

Last night, I came home and relaxed. I read a book in the tub until the water grew tepid. I ate chips and salsa for dinner because I was alone and I could and I didn’t feel like cooking. I considered tending to some Things That Need To Be Done and decided that, no, I was just going to take it easy. Which was just as well, because I fell asleep at 9:30.

I am a wild one, I tell you.

I get about 6 hours of sleep a night most of the time, which would be just perfect if I was 2/3 of the person I am. What it means in reality, of course, is that on the one night every two weeks when I can sleep as long as I want to, my body burrows deep into slumber and doesn’t emerge for about 11 hours. When I wake up, I am bleary and disoriented and in caffeine withdrawal and wracked with guilt over having sacrificed precious child-free hours for something as frivolous as sleep.

Exhaustion is insidious. You’ve heard of African Sleeping Sickness? This is sleep poisoning. Sort of the same thing except completely different. Shut up.

Now I have to plot out the day; I have to find a way to accomplish everything that hasn’t been done in the last two weeks, as well as trying to get a jump on the things I won’t be able to accomplish in the next two weeks. As about half of these tasks are errands, I cannot fully express my joy about the driving rain.

I’ll get some of it done. I won’t get all of it done; I never do. And in the meantime–as I move to the relentless beat of the storm while it strikes the windows and the roof and burbles down the drainpipes with a repetitive “glug glug”–I will flit from here to there and back again, trying to keep my hands and feet busy enough to silence my mind.

Because it feels like marking time. It didn’t used to. Some of what’s changed was deliberate and some of it just happened; regardless, I’m left wishing Socrates was still alive so that I could have the chance to punch him in the face (okay, FINE, it’s unlikely that I would REALLY do that… but I would totally snark about his haircut and tell everyone he has bad breath). “An unexamined life is not worth living,” my ass. The examined life is no picnic, pal. The examined life is rife with regrets and poor judgement and guilt and a to-do list that’s miles long and meaningless.

I’m not where I want to be, and nothing I have to do today will take me closer to shore. I just keep paddling out further and further, treading water as long as I can, and then floating for a while when I get tired. Sometimes it’s pleasant, sure. Sometimes I surrender for a while and it’s actually peaceful. And then sometimes the rain pelts down and it’s cold and lonely and the futility is overwhelming.

I have got to stop sleeping in.


  1. dave

    Don’t stop sleeping in when you get a chance. The way you feel today would probably be just the same if you had only got six hours of sleep (minus the tired feeling, of course).

    My guess is that Socrates would have been a compulsive tooth brusher, and had nice breath, btw. Brushing one’s teeth is an excellent activity to do while examining one’s life.

  2. Mary

    I was once bemoaning to my friends how bad I felt that I was sleeping part of the day away when I could be doing something productive (my “life recovery sleeps,” as I like to call them, last 12 to 15 hours–yeah, I *know*), and one of the girls looked at me and, very seriously said, “Getting enough sleep is very productive. You need to do that as much as you need to do anything else that’s on your list.” And she’s right. Sleep in if you need to, and try not to feel bad for not getting other things done. I think you’re doing great to keep your life going at all, honestly, with all you have on your plate. Good job, Mir. You deserve a cupcake.

  3. Betsy

    Oh, man. And here I slept in on my own kid-free weekend morning (like you, the only time I ever get to do so.)

    I was feeling pretty good about it and all – until I read this.

    Now I feel: guilty. Thanks. Thanks a *lot*, Mir..

    (Seriously: Sleep is *good*, and belongs in a prominent place on any kid-free weekend to-do list. Trust me on this one…)

  4. La Pixiatrix

    “examined life” does not equal “scrutinized life”.

    I have a ton of respect and empathy for you. Mind you, I have no children (and we are the same-ish age), so there are *some* fewer significant constraints on my time and personal space, though I live in essentially one large room with a man who seldom leaves the house and I am a recovering workaholic who still engages in all-nighters both for work and my own projects…and I am someone who everyday, still, feels like disappearing at one point or another [damn that was a long disclaimer]

    We all have those “things we do” when we feel we have no control or power when we wish it was otherwise, and “those things we do” to survive affect how we see ourselves in the world.

    I certainly aint one to be lecturing anyone about how they ought to trust more, or *trust differently*, however, all I could think of reading this post was that the voice in my own head that is most familiar is not necessarily the most trustworthy.

    When everything else finally quiets down, if I fill up the space with fear, how can I ever change the conversation?

    Since I’m the only one who *can* change that internal conversation. [I’m not sure how] But if that isn’t potential and power, I don’t know what is.

    Everytime I come here, which is more and more often, I find myself wishing you would change the name of your blog. I’m sure that is a projection of my “stuff” onto you, but nonetheless…

    P.S. Fill up the tub with hot water a second time and extend that quiet peaceful time, for me.

  5. ben

    I think I speak for many here when I ask this burning question:

    What about the stamps?


  6. udge

    I have got to stop sleeping in.

    I disagree. You have got to practice sleeping in, until you can do it without guilt; because it is good for you.

  7. savtadotty

    Look at it this way: the Universe doesn’t care whether you sleep in or not. Who are you to impose your will on it, at least when it comes to matters of your own health?

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