Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Living to Sleep is Not the Way to Live

This morning, I was awake before my alarm clock for the first time in as long as I can remember. The last two mornings, I have been in the thick of vivid dreams and a deep REM sleep and slept until 6:15 each of those mornings. Usually the sound of Mike Holmes voice at 6:00 a.m. (I sleep with the TV on, I don't actually sleep with Mike Holmes, just to clarify that issue), jolts me out of bed like no one's business.

The week of early morning walking &/or exercise exhausted me to a new level. I woke up at 4:52 a.m. for a week straight, a month and a half ago and I may just be recovering from that feat. This whole business of "keeping fit" or "just walking" on a regular basis is harder than it sounds.

I know myself. I need to do hard things first thing in the day. If they don't get done then, they don't get done at all. Then again, I savor those quiet early morning hours to enjoy the quiet, read a little, write a little and simply try to listen to the sound of my own heart. I truly thought early morning walks was a way to accomplish both of those things. I was wrong.

Since that little experiment, I have been sleeping in until 6:00 a.m. instead of my usual 5:00 wake up call. One week of early morning exercise resulted in a five week recovery period. If this is what aging looks and feels like, I quit!

I woke up this morning wondering how many more years of "this" I have ahead of me. I'm 55 years old right now. I have decided I have NO desire to live beyond the age of 80. None. Living is expensive and I would much rather make the most of my pension fund and receive a larger monthly payment in lieu of stretching it out so I could live to be 100.

I'm thinking it would be very handy to know my expiration date. I would take the total dollar amount in my pension fund and divide it by the years I have to make it last. Then I would subsidize the high cost of living by making a regular monthly withdrawal so I could lessen my work load for the rest of those years.

The idea of having the opportunity to live the next 35 years of my life waking up to a life I was excited about living would be the best gift I could ever hope for.

I guess that is all in my own hands isn't it? I could wake up each morning dreading the day and counting down the hours until I got to go back to sleep. Or I could challenge myself to make the most out of each day I'm given and simply look for the multitude of small blessings that each day has to offer.

Sharing my daycare days with my son has proven to be a very positive thing. Last night, we stopped and chatted about "what he sees" and his observations about ways I could lighten up and just go with the flow a little more. Helping out two or three hours during my ten hour work day doesn't offer him the same perspective I have but it definitely helps. He is helping me during "peak periods" of activity and I have a drill sergeant mentality as I get kids cleaned, fed, bathroomed and ready for nap time. But even at that, he has actually stated that I do a lot of things "right" (in his opinion).

Sharing my work load, sharing my day and lightening up on what I expect to happen within the day have made a vast difference within my ability to cope the past few days (and most likely contributed to the fact that I can actually wake up with my alarm). Do I want to do this every day for the next 35 years? Not on your life. Can I make the most of the next 5 years, if there is hope of rerouting my life and "career" at that point? I can definitely try.

I do know that life as I am living it must evolve to the point where I'm living to sleep and then living for Sundays. I am 16 days away from a two week vacation. I think what I really need is a holiday. The rest will come.

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