Over the past few years, I have had quite a few revelations about myself and how I approach life. I have learned that some of the “habits” that I have are due to nurture (learned behaviors) while others are due to nature (biology). I have also learned that nurture often will push nature into dangerous times. I do not mean “dangerous” in the ways that we read about in the newspapers, but they do threaten my well-being, how I see things, and how I interact with others.
Going to camp last weekend was not the original plan for the first weekend in November. Back in June, I submitted a proposal to present at a conference in Indiana. I was accepted! I was so thrilled. I placed the event on my calendar which showed no conflicts for that week (this was back in June, remember). Summer passed, and the school year started. With the start of school for Beth came try-outs for the musical. She received a supporting role in the cast. Opening night is this Friday…the last day of the conference hundreds of miles away from Fridley High School. Fortunately, I have a boss who supports family as well as work; barring anything horrible with the airlines (please pray with me!!!), I will be there for opening night!
Last week, I mentioned to Kerry that I was struggling with my presentation and that I would probably do much better in preparing for the conference at camp. We originally had this conversation months ago as I made my travel plans, but the itinerary that I had proposed really was a bit nutty. I had said, “I will drive to camp on Friday, then go on across the US to Indiana, and then I will drive home on Friday.” This did not resonate well with Kerry, and he is a good sounding board for some of my crazed travel plans. I made my travel plans to the conference, but I did not include camp.
“Go to camp,” he said last week. So I did. I had wanted to go all along!
Unfortunately, I do not always make the wisest decisions when I am away from home. At home, there is the safeguard of my husband and children and the way that they watch over me, send me to bed when I am loopy, and ask those pointed questions like, “Have you taken your medication?” While I have friends who will give me a look that asks, “Is this a good idea?” – it is not the same as my husband saying, “Go to bed!” Even when they tell me to go to bed, it is not the same as my husband saying it.
In addition to taking my medication each day, sleep, exercise, less caffeine, and healthy eating are all factors that keep me sane both inside my own head and in my interactions with others. All of these factors are in jeopardy at a weekend filled with late nights, snacks, and sitting on your butt at a table. The other thing that adds to this is the fact that my nature is to be a late night person. The bright lights in the gym, the great conversations around the table, and the image of productivity all appealed to me…and I wanted to have fun!
When I started writing this blog in August, one of the great things that I had hoped to do was to dump out racing thoughts that interfered with my ability to sleep so that I could sleep better. I do not hit “publish” on all of these thoughts as I do have a teaching license to protect! However, typing like crazy and dumping thoughts has helped me to organize, synthesize, and to move on.
On Saturday night, I went to bed far too late for my own good. I was curious to see if the clock changed on phone from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. or 3 a.m. to 2 a.m. This is a dumb curiousity! There are far more important things – such as sanity – than this concept. I did try to find the answer on Google earlier in the evening, but I could not find the definitive answer about when the change occurs. When the only way to find an answer is to live through the answer, I want to live it!
When I stay up too late for too many nights in a row, I create a racing mind. When I finally went to bed on Saturday night/Sunday morning, I could not fall asleep. I had worked on a presentation, written blog posts, and had many conversations. Another blog post had started to bounce in my head, but I could not get it out of me. I dragged my feet and waited for the time to change.
And my mind started to race. I wanted to write cards and to start new projects that did not even exist yet. I thought about the presentation I have coming up this week and the fun travel plans that I have in between (I am seeing the Civil Wars‘s show tonight!!!!). I lay in bed and thought…and then thought some more…and I stayed awake. Eventually I fell asleep, but I even thought about sleeping while my mind raced through the other thoughts.
When I awoke Sunday morning, I was so tired. I had only slept for about 5 hours, and this is not ok. In order to stay balanced and healthy, I need at least 8 hours of sleep. For two nights in a row, I had jeopardized the balance, and I felt it. By 11 a.m., though, I had achieved that tired balance that would allow me to get home safely and return to family life.
And tonight….the Civil Wars!!!!!
PS: they are in Minneapolis tomorrow with – last time I checked – a few seats left, though none together.