Sleeping Beautifully

When first I did peep open my eyes today (Thursday), I asked myself, “Do I FEEL like getting up just yet?” I love being able to pose that question, and I grasp that it contemplates significant privilege. So many of us, due to jobs, family obligations, and other constraints must arise when the alarm bugle (or marimba) sounds. That was me for decades, come migraines, cramps, illness, or exhaustion.

Up I did get, out I did go (and fat, tired, and auto-immune sick I did become.)

My question wasn’t entirely self-indulgent, though. I am prone to what I call doughnut sleep. I toddle up to bed on time (between 10 pm and 11 pm), I read a little, and then I commend myself to the arms of Morpheus. In the middle of the night, I wake up, and for the next few hours, I’m resting rather than sleeping. This is a fine time to contemplate book plots, the state of the planet, strategies for the most effective use of my time, or reasons to be grateful. I might do some yoga poses in the dark, or get in quality time with the king of the upstairs, Augustus the Cat.

Toward dawn, I drift off for another good sleep cycle. I’d rather sleep through the night, but doughnut sleep is simply an intermittent fact of my life, despite regular exercise, blackout curtains, a bedtime routine, blue light filters, and all the other strategies we’re supposed to try.

Today, though, I’m also coming off several days of bustling about. I’ve made two trips to the barn this week, where my darling Santa was not feeling necessarily 100% (nothing serious, thank heavens). I completed the third dentist appointment in a series that has not been fun at all (but is happily done). I got after extra house work necessitated by excessively muddy winter weather and pets who do not wipe their paws. I’ve been dogged by looming book deadlines (c’mon, Miss Devoted!) and tax season aggravations..

So today I felt like proceeding in a lower gear. I am so fantastically wealthy in freedom that I don’t have to wait until the weekend to ratchet down my pace. I will get plenty done–write a scene (fingers crossed), tidy up this or that, format Miss Devoted. I have plenty to do, but I also have my own permission to cut back on the full quota of steps, to eat a few more carbs (I’m on a garlic naan and cheddar kick), and to  mess around a little more diving into rabbit holes like why hasn’t the hydroelectric potential on both slopes of the Hindu Kush (of K2 fame) been more fully harnessed?

If I had to choose between doubling my income or keeping the flexibility I have in my schedule, I’d keep the flexibility. I’m pretty clear that the income I do have depends on me being able to say when to accelerate and when to throttle back, when to write a blog post and when to dive into the next scene for Miss Determined (pre-order links starting to populate). The quality of my output, my environment, my financial management, and my health depends on me being the boss of my time.

Miss Devoted by Grace BurrowesI suspect, pre-industrial revolution, and certainly pre-agricultural revolution, this is how the species was meant to function–with a lot of autonomy and a lot of responsibility, though in the context of a tight tribal social network. Seems to me, though, we still have the responsibility, but with a lot less daily autonomy and relatively puny social networks (the leading reason Americans seek counseling is loneliness). I am soooooo glad that I’ve hit a stretch of life where I have that autonomy. It’s helping me stay healthy, happy, creative, and productive. (And to ensure Gus-Gus gets all the scratchies he needs.)

What’s good about your life right now? What is getting better, even if it’s not quite where you want it yet? Three more commenters go on the Miss Devoted ARC list!


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15 comments on “Sleeping Beautifully

  1. After a few blips and bleeps, things seem to be on an even keel right now. Who’s to say how long that will last, but I am grateful for a lull in the procedures.

    With busyness and yes, craziness, happening in my life, I had forgotten how much I depend on and CRAVE the ordinary. Just doing the dishes or running the errands or any of a number of ordinary, run-of-the-mill-type stuff right now comforts me so much. I had forgotten how getting in a grove of just, well, taking out the garbage or sweeping the kitchen floor can mean.

    I am grateful for small mercies and pray they continue for the time being so that’s what’s GOOD around here! 🙂

  2. My warm cozy bed. And all that that means. The roof over it doesn’t leak. The furnace and thermostat are in sync right now. There are no air raids. This rural area is mostly quiet after 5 pm. And, yes, if I can’t sleep or am suffering the throes of GERD/bronchitis, well, I am mostly warm and safe.

  3. Most everything is good, even though I still have to pay for my new air conditioner heat pump (the old air handler caught fire and the whole thing was too old to repair) and then had to replace all the gaskets for the oil system on my car (that’s fewer than 10 years old) and have to deal with the 50% increase in my homeowner’s insurance (even though I had no issues with the hurricanes that passed through last year) and will be starting the pre-op workups for my first knee replacement (it happens in March but the workups start next week). But, in spite of all that, I thankfully have the money to pay for everything and so I’m feeling pretty good. I really don’t want to have knee surgery but I have finally reached the end of the my rope dealing with the constant pain. I’ll have to wait a few months for the second knee but by the end of the year, I should be doing better.

    • Karen, congratulations on your approaching knee replacements. I have moved from the ‘never ever’ to ‘probably’ in the last few months. My mobility has become so limited and the chance of falls has increased.

  4. What is good in my life? So far my financial planning is holding up in my retirement. I am slowly finding things I want to do rather than have to. And there is always my dogs,

    What is getting better is the recovery from the house flood (plumbing not nature) in July. I am unpacking the boxes from when they cleared out the house and feeling more like getting rid of stuff. That is a very good new trend.

    FYI I sleep the same way you do Grace, I really wish I could close that gap!

  5. Much to be thankful for! Comfortable home, food to eat, son graduated from college last month and is home for now, looking for a job. Husband has a good job to take care of us, money and insurance wise. Got to meet new grandson and see daughter’s family last month. Two year anniversary of my brain aneurysm coming up, with followup brain scan in February (I get to see all the blood vessels in my brain on the bigscreen!). Had left eye cataract surgery a few weeks ago. Even though it didn’t quite work as planned, I got close up vision and hope right eye will get distance vision correctly so I can both near and far without glasses for first time since 3rd grade – just want to be able to see and get myself around. Yes, good to have son home to drive me around the last few weeks while waiting for the right eye surgery.

  6. I use weekends for those ‘do I feel like getting up’ questions. I am also a night owl by nature, and early days are not in my nature. I report to work at 8:45AM because of that – the latest I could wrangle. My best work is done from 2 PM to around 6:30 (I stay late). Weekends I sleep in and stay up late.

    Life is getting a little better for me. I have gone through all the stages of grief with the imminent departure of a woman I’ve worked with for 35+ years. She is the one I could go to with technical problems because she is a genius (not joking there). The latest snafu with a computer system is serious and has been kicked up to the vendor.

    My coworker who is retiring is around 71 and I wish her the best. She is also in fabulous shape, and she and her husband already have 4 hiking trips planned to various state parks spread wide. I think they also have some white water rafting planned. They went to Hawaii last year, and hike any gorgeous scenery in the US. Stepping on or off a curb is a challenge for me.

    I will work until the end of the year and then contemplate retirement again May be sooner if I don’t like the new bosses.

    P.S. The real office kicker is that our section department head – boss of all of us – announced his retirement suddenly the day after her retirement dinner. He is leaving the day after she is.

    Sorry – this is a long post.

  7. Best about my life–being retired so able to read AS MUCH as I want to and having my family (2 daughters, a son-in-law and 2 darling dachshund girls in the same comfortable home, but not on top of each other so I’m not lonely, but can have company when I want it. Wish I could post a picture of my sweet little girls.

  8. I’m recently retired, so the idea of greater flexibility is still new and delightful. I’m not sleeping in any later than I did while working, but the greater flexibility of my schedule, espeyin being able to do what I want to do instead of what I have to do, is priceless.

  9. I’m recently retired, so the idea of greater flexibility is still new and delightful. I’m not sleeping in any later than I did while working, but the greater flexibility of my schedule, espeyin being able to do what I want to do instead of what I have to do, is priceless. I love it

  10. With my youngest stabilizing and my intensive parenting evening out, I am taking full advantage of the time and energy that have been freed up. I go to yoga almost everyday, and do acupuncture and am in general just trying to get myself back to a healthy relaxed-ish place while I have the luxury of me-time so when things get tougher again, I will have a full-ish tank.

    It is cold where I am, and I am feeling gratiful for all the comforts I am lucky enough to have; central heating and a family income that can cover the cost, good windows so I am not always fleeing drafts, a healthy family and enough time to savor a good meal or a book with tea, sunshine (eventhough it is too cold to be outside safely).

  11. This is something that is truly beyond my control………………but I always look forward to the winter solstice. Then I know that the days are starting to get longer. It used to mean that it was not totally and terribly dark when I came home from work. Even that last bit of daylight as I drove home was better than total dark!

    The year is on the upswing!

  12. My sleep schedule is the same as yours. I fill the gap with audiobooks narrated by deep mellow baritones (like Tim Campbell, Alex Wyndham or James Langdon) and sometimes they put me back to sleep. Life and health has been iffy but I’m forever grateful for the good days. There is a baby in the family who will visit me this week. Never underestimate the joy broadcasted by a baby giggle.

  13. Google second sleep. Shakespeare referred to it. The modern term is biphasic sleep. References to first and second sleep started to disappear in the late 17th century. I eventually developed a routine of sleeping from (approximately) 9-2, waking up and showering and dressing and doing a few chores, then sleeping from 4-7, waking up dressed and gong to work. Now I am retired and sleep when I want.