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.
I 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!