I try to get exercise every now and again. Enough exercise, in any case, to prevent spontaneous muscle decline. And I eat healthily. I’m an intermittent vegan whose consumption of suspicious amounts of lentils and beans gets interrupted by short yet passionate bursts of steak and prawn eating.
But sleeping…ah, that sacred act of plugging out and plugging back in…that is the one life skill that I have yet to acquire.
I’ve never had a reasonable relationship with sleep. At the ages of 20, 30 and now 40 years, I fight falling asleep like babies do, and I don’t do it on purpose. When my friends hear my sleeping patterns they just stare at me with the skepticism of someone sitting in a palm reader’s tent.
‘You know you’re gonna die,’ my one friend volunteered.
‘Think of all the sleep I’ll get then,’ I replied.
She didn’t laugh. I did, because I was tired.
I think it started when I worked in a morgue in my younger days. During that time I fell out of trust with the dark of night, knowing what people can do to one another if the sun is not keeping watch.
As I grew older the tentative movement between asleep and awake continued and perhaps became worse as I became more and more alone. If you are all you have to protect you at night, your brain is happy to oblige with wakefulness at every nightly sound.
But it’s not all bad I guess. I’m not one for social media but I recently joined Instagram and I’m in love. Pretty pictures and dreams and kittens and quotes and meanness limited to a minimum.
And yes, I admit shamefully that I used to also browse celebrities’ profiles during my sleepless binges. From enjoying the almost clumsy attempts by older Hollywood heroes and heroines, to the high energy messages by even higher energy sport and film stars, nudging us to be better, to out-of-this-world-beautiful Bollywood actors and European royals. I absorbed it all.
But considering what is going on in the world, voyeurism and veneration seem ludicrous. I happily forego the subtle make-uped make-uplessless, the slightly artificial optimism and benevolence. I have nothing in common with these throne-sitters.
Now I settle for the non-sleepers and meme-makers and thank-you-ers and the worry-ers and the dreamers. Those are my people.
Sleeplessness is also over-thinking’s favorite place. Everything seems worse in the tired early morning hours and my emotions start at wow I have the best friends all the way to I hate them all, they don’t understand me and back to I forgive them, they are wonderful.
And strangely, when the day starts your emotions seem to be exactly where you left them long before you went to bed.
It is the early morning hours here in my country and nature is stirring outside.
I think I’ll have some…strong coffee…