01 June 2007

sleep as surrender

T'is an odd conundrum with which I wrestle right now.

It's medium-late—right around midnight—and I am dog-tired, exhausted physcially, emotionally, and intellectually by a week wherein I set myself to accomplish some near-impossible goals, came damnably close, yet failed within sight of the finish line.

There's a load of tasks and duties I might yet tackle right now, yet my eyes burn, my lids feel like they have combats boots hanging from them, and half the words I try to use come out looking and sounding like Cherokee Pig Latin, lacking both form and meaning.

I have to get up tomorrow and oversee some group activities. I have every reason in the world to just shut it down now and crawl into bed and get some badly needed sleep.

Yet I cannot bring myself to do this.

Every time I crawl into bed and turn out the lights to call it a day, I immediately begin to run down the list of things I could have done. More. Better. Differently. The decision to cease combat operations on any given day now feels like a pathetic surrender to all those forces allied to prevent me from achieving my goals. And if this all seems perhaps a tad too "martial" in imagery, well, then fuck you. It's my paranoia, and I'll paint it with whatever colors I damned well choose.

I understand the basis for this odd mindset better than many people realize: as I like to say, "I have many problems, but a lack of awareness of my problems is not one of them." I lost the better part of a decade to self-indulgent laziness and carefree refusal to take charge of those Things That Should Have Been Done. To wake and see the damage done by such laziness can be a truly humbling thing: opportunities lost, potential pissed away, dreams dead and rotting on the ground like last season's fruit.

Another hour's work on the script. A few more notes to long-missed friends. Just a few more ideas on some topic, dumped into a file before they are lost like clouds on a breezy day. Another book to read, another item to be researched, another amazing detail to be discovered. One more chore to tackle today and remove from tomorrow's duty list.

The Wife often grumbles as I pad to bed in the wee hours—2 am, 3 am. What are you doing? Why are you still up?"

"I had things I needed to get done."

Onwards. March or die.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

--Dylan Thomas


God, grant me strength and five minutes more.
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B

3 comments:

Shawna said...

The solution is napping.

Sleep for an hour or so, get up, get back to work for about six hours. Rinse, repeat.

Failing that, stock up on red bull or pry your eyes open like the brainwashing thingy in 'A Clockwork Orange'

I still wake up some mornings mournful that I slept so long. But I can't not sleep. I just don't function without sleep.

Tell me your secrets, wise one.

pooks said...

I've never been able to do without sleep. As an experiement, for about three weeks I made sure I got 8 hours sleep every night, and my days were so much better.

I let that slip.

I need to go back to that.

But I admire and envy you for getting so much done.

Brett said...

I love sleeping -- I just hate going to sleep. It's that "confronting the change in phase" that annoys me, like the annoyance of having to stop any productive task in order to get dressed to go to some not-especially-close friend's party or wedding.

"I'm already in a happy zone of productivity, and if I pull off now it might be a long time before I ever get back to this place, this mood, this point, again."

Napping just pisses me off, as when I sleep I like to go into a coma (likely due to the exhaustion of never really getting "enough" sleep, but there'll be time enough to rest in the grave...). Waking after an hour of "not doing a damned thing aside from lounging around on my lazy ass" just makes me more frustrated that I burned a potentially useful hour which will now never be mine again.

Time as a theoretical concept is infinite, but in practical application it's painfully finite.

"Do more."
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B