Last week a friend of mine sent me my very own FitBit. Isn’t that ridiculously sweet? I couldn’t believe it. She wins all the friendship gold medals and I should probably name my next child after her.
As I suspected, I am completely smitten, it’s everything I dreamed it would be, and my life is forever changed. No surprise there.
What was surprising is the little bombshell its trusty sleep tracker just dropped in my lap. According to it’s well-calibrated motion detector, my sweet-as-pie baby boy has been waking me up an average of fifty times a night! How about that?
Fifty, girls. FIFTY.
I mean, I knew that I wasn’t sleeping — and haven’t been for almost ten months — but I don’t think I realized just how bad it was. Not every sleep disruption requires that I get out of bed, of course, but they all require that I exit the delicious world of REM and tend to Charlie in some way.
I think you can go one of two ways when you find out that your sleep patterns rival those of a Gulag prisoner. You can throw a massive pity party (and there’s no shame in that game — you have totally earned it, you partiers of pity) or you can go the bad a** route. As in: only a truly amazing person could survive nearly a year of intense sleep-deprivation.
I go back and forth, but at the moment I’m totally donning my cape. It’s pink and has AWESOME written all over it, in case you were wondering. (You’ll probably get your invite to my cape burning party next week, though, so be on the lookout for that.)
Anyway, I had an epiphany that blew my mind, and probably won’t blow yours, but I’m going to share it anyway. Here goes:
Adding tasks to my to-do list can (potentially) give me energy.
Crazy, I know.
Jen has written about this in the past, and I love her thoughts. As with so many things, though, it took me a while to really get it on a personal level.
I’ve long been inspired by this idea that every person should seek out the things of this world that make them feel alive and had a pretty good idea before Charlie was born of which sort of things enlivened me and which things, though lovely, belong on my personal Life Ruining list.
While in the midst of sleep-deprivation, though, even the things which normally exhilarate me deplete me. I just figured that was to be expected given the circumstances and that there was nothing to do but wait out this survival season.
When the Holy Spirit hit Jen and me upside the head with this idea that we should throw a big party this summer our initial reaction was “Ha ha ha — you’re funny, God.” Because our lives? They are intense. Eventually we consented, though, and desperately embraced the mantra: “If God brings you to it, he’ll bring you through it.”
Never in a million years would I have expected that the gathering we’re planning would become that thing that makes me excited to hop out of bed in the morning. (Can party planning be a charism? I think yes.) Even when our venue fell through, and we had to toss out all of our hard work, create a new vision, and start from scratch, it was this event that kept me smiling in spite of all exhaustion.
Every morning I wake up, pour over the options, and start plotting ways in which we can make everyone’s visit to Austin as fun and fulfilling as possible. By the time Jen wakes up over in CST land, she usually has at least five emails that say:
Ooh, this place has a rooftop pool!
This place will hand out tickets for free glasses of wine when our guests arrive!
This place has a coffee shop in the lobby!
And this place is right in the heart of downtown Austin!
What about Karaoke? We totally need a Karaoke machine!
(Except with far more exclamation points and emoticons.)
It’s such a high for me, I can’t even tell you.
As I was puzzling over how it was that planning this gathering (which is, no doubt about it, a lot of work) could leave me feeling so invigorated, it hit me that within the list of things that make me feel alive and bring joy to my life, there is a sublist of things that have the power to energize me. It seems so simple and obvious, but this idea that some of my passions fuel me and some of them require fuel really was kind of a lightning bolt moment for me.
The little changes I’ve made as a result of this realization are already bearing fruit and the idea that there are things out there that — though technically fall under the category of ‘work’ — can give me energy when my stores are low, is exciting.
It’s not a panacea, of course. I’m still tired, my inbox is shamefully neglected (as is this blog), my laundry pile is two floors too high, and I still have to accomplish all sorts of things each day that sap my energy. That’s just life. But still, I feel like I have a new tool in my arsenal and new tools make me feel like I’m going to win at all the things.
And even if this experiment ends up being full of fail, you won’t hear too many complaints from me. There are far worse things that could wake a gal up every 9.6 minutes than this guy. Wrapped around his little finger, I am.