So a random element of my unique physiology, or possibly my personal psychosis, cropped up this week for me to contend with. It requires a little bit of memoir-like background, so indulge me for a post or two before we get to the funny (if we get to the funny) or the inspirational (if I can find it).
For what I would measure as the first 10 years of my life, I don’t have any active memories of my dad being around in the evening before I went to bed during the week. I know that he was – it’s ridiculous to think that for 2,600 days, my dad was at work until 9pm or later.
But! That’s often how it felt. He also got some amazing opportunities, like traveling to Barcelona for the XVI Olympic Winter Games (1992, in case you were wondering) because EDS was both a sponsor and providing some sort of technical support. There’s some cool stories and pictures that go along with that. My earliest memory of thinking a thing like a Cathedral could be beautiful was based on pictures he brought back, for example. Whoa, digression? Where’d you come from. My brain, that’s where.
So you may have gathered that my pops worked a lot when I was young. Hell, he works a lot now. The guy doesn’t do 9-5. He does 9 to done, and that’s to his credit. It has harmed me, since, because it has become the standard to which I hold myself. My mother’s career as a teacher reinforced that, because teachers have plenty of homework, too. It’s part of the reason I’m so defensive of them when Republicans start in on the idea that the problem with public education is somehow related to financial process of paying people to teach, because you’re paying them to dedicate their entire lives to being a professional who is routinely abused by their clients and their clients’ families on something like a daily basis – holy shit I’m digressing!
The point is, as I got older, bedtime and even dinnertime became a vastly more malleable concept. I have memories of the three of us – my father, my brother, and myself – sitting up and playing puzzle games or flight games or some kind of game on the computer, because Harris and I had both stayed up to see him when he got home. Harris had that kind of authority because and I think my mom secretly enjoyed that we disobeyed direct suggestions that we get to bed. This turned us into unabashed night owls. By the time high school rolled around, it would be amazing if I was in bed before 2, sitting on my computer (much as I am now) working away at something or chatting with friends in a time before Facebook and Youtube, with my dad not 20 feet away, doing much the same – catching headlines, laughing at jokes, trolling about on the internet. At midnight he’d say “yeesh, son, we have to get to bed.”
“Sure, dad. Let me finish this up.”
“Whatcha working on?”
“Uh, trying to get this thing for X-wing Alliance working. I did that model a little while ago, remember?”
“Yeah, the one that kind of looked like a wasp. You’re getting that into the game? Are you allowed to do that?”
“Not really, but someone figured out how to, so lots of people do.”
Then we would go back to what we’re doing, and the tradition would go on for another two hours. I’d get frustrated or he’d come over and just admire what I was doing and encourage me in my early pursuits of 3D Modeling (I retain all of them to this day!) and modding computer games until he realized what time it was – on a school night! And off to bed we’d crawl. Then we’d both have to drag ourselves out of bed the next morning, him moreso to make sure I didn’t miss my ride from Paul/Shannon/Danielle/Lauren. Oftentimes, he’d have to ask them to wait while he ran upstairs and dragged me out of bed and gave me 5 minutes to get completely ready and down to the driveway HOLY CRAP DIGRESSIONS ABOUND!
So, let’s fast-forward to today. I still stay up until 2 on average and wake up now around 9. When I had a 9-5 job, I’d stay up till 2 and wake up at seven if I wanted to catch the bus or eight if I didn’t mind paying $5 that day. The next job, I stayed up till 2 (sometimes 3) and woke up at 9:30 and then did a 10:30 to 7:30 (that I really made more of an 11-8…). Then I lost my job and lost all sense of schedule for awhile. I’m a 7 hours of sleep kind of guy, if I’m honest, but I frequently operate on less.
So it came that when I started working out a bunch, it became much easier to get to sleep around 2 and get up to do my work out, because I was using a ton more energy. However, this physiology/psychosis occasionally comes out and forces me to do bizarre things. That happened this week. I think it was Tuesday night, I left my computer and crawled into my sleeping alcove (long explanation) around 3am…and then proceeded to toss and turn, unable to even get to sleep until 7am. I then slept for many hours, until almost 2 in the afternoon. That was deeply frustrating. So then I decided to go over to my friend’s house and just hang out with him, intending to do what I do when my sleep schedule gets all screwed up – stay up for an entire 24 hours. The fact that I have a plan for when this happens should provide the necessary indication that it happens from time to time.
The short version is that it didn’t work. I lost like three days of reliable dieting and working out because of that. I managed do to a 30-hour day from 6pm Thursday to 1am Saturday morning. Then I got a nice 9 hours of sleep, hopped back up and dove back in to the thing.
Which is the part I am most proud of. Yes, it sucks that I lost some of the time. I’m not counting this as a week in my diet. I’m counting it as a near-failure. I think we all have these from time to time. I’m not sure I know the trick to conquering it, but I suspect it’s something very akin to managing my writer’s block, which is very intermittent itself. The trick is not to wallow in the moment that you don’t know what to do. The trick is to create a plan, solve a problem, and start working again. It may not even be the problem that originally led to the reason you stopped writing, working out, drawing, running, whatever it is that you stopped doing. It probably won’t be. I don’t know what caused my sleeplessness. I don’t know what ever causes it, but I’m not sure I can solve that problem. I can solve the other things, so I focus on those and solve them, and it’s allowed me to bounce back.
I also did an incredible amount of programming during that 30-hour day. I’m sure most of it is nonsensical, nonsyntactical inelegant gibberish, but I think somewhere in my sleep-deprivation-addled logical explorations, I also created a paradigm for solving a problem I’ve been having in one of my projects.
So that felt good. What felt better – and also worse – was getting back on the running and lifting today. I haven’t recorded my dietary habits at all this week, which was a real serious failing on my part, but as I look back on it, not all that inaccurate, because I’ve eaten so little. Celery, chicken, and peanut butter, for the most part, and some protein shakes.
I don’t have a clever out for this week, other than to say fuck planking. Cody has me doing that now, and someone else’s god above, that stuff is rough. My whole body is shaking by about 15 seconds in.
So again – Fuck. Planking.