Sunday, December 11, 2016

Making Peace with Insomnia

Want to hear a joke?


Yeah, I don't get it either.

That little joke is currently making the rounds, and it made me smile; a little wryly, but I smiled. 

This girl can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Staying asleep has been a challenge for me most of my adult life, though. I have been a charter member of the insomniac club for most of my life. 

These last few weeks have brought back memories of my teaching career: fast asleep before nine; wide awake waaay before three. 

Lately, there have been a lot of 1:30 wake-ups. 1:30 in the morning? Shouldn't I be in a panic? Thankfully, no. I'm retired, and have no schedule to keep, so it's not that big a deal.

When I was teaching, it was different. I woke up with my mind racing of things to do, parents to call, lessons to plan; my brain just couldn't shut down from the whirlwind that was always spinning. I would worry if I woke up before four, counting how many hours of sleep I'd had, trying to determine if it would be sufficient for being on my toes and managing the masses at school.    

One time, when explaining my experience with insomnia to my brother, I was going to complain, but as I started to write, "These early wake-ups are ..." and I paused. I finished with, "Well, they just are. I don't mind them too much." And I finally realized I really don't.  

Now, when I wake up, I quietly entertain myself. I've spent a nice couple of hours in the living room, catching up with our kids' and friends' posts online. I've been enjoying the glow of the Christmas tree with a cup of sweet, creamy coffee. I have been working on my blog. Soon I will be reading about the first Christmas in the Bible. If I am ever able to return to sleep later this morning, that will be wonderful. If not, I'm okay with that, too.

Sleep may always be elusive for me. Accepting that possibility is the sensible thing to do. Having more time for meditation, reflection, and contemplation is not a bad thing, when I think about it. It's all in my attitude. I'm making peace with many things in my life these days; my body, food, reading glasses, shortcomings and weaknesses. Making peace with my old friend insomnia just makes sense.

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