Resolution for the Un-Invincible

In college, I used to stay up all night so often that four a.m. almost lost its filter of delirium. Sometimes I’d put my favorite Ben Folds Five album on repeat while I caught up on work. Other times I stayed up for the pleasure of ambling down lamplit paths with a friend in the deep Texas hush. In retrospect, I can’t figure out if I’m glad that I befriended the night back when my only real responsibility was keeping up my grade point average or if I want to shake some sense into that college girl who didn’t recognize her perpetual exhaustion for what it was.

I still have to remind myself that the skinned-knee tenderness at the front of my emotions in the week following New Year’s Eve is fatigue, not inadequacy. It’s so easy to underestimate my need for rest. I see it clearly in my daughters, the link between sleep-deprival and total personal fragmentation, but my perspective blurs when I look at myself. Even all these years into adulthood, a part of me still insists on believing that grown-ups are superheroes.

If I were to adopt any one resolution this January, it would be this: to approach bedtime with mindfulness and gratitude instead of careless disregard.

This isn’t an easy one (though what resolution ever is?). There’s something prowling and nocturnal in my makeup, and the thinner the hours stretch, the easier it is for me to believe myself invincible. Time loses its price tag. I see the dark and the quiet as valuables that someone has left out on the curb, and I have to fight every thrifty, curious instinct in me to leave them be, to declare the day sufficient unto itself.

Right now, though, I’ve cleared enough of the post-holiday fatigue to remember just how smoothly the gears of life slip into place when I’ve gotten enough rest. This seems too basic and obvious a point to bother writing out until I consider how often I neglect it. Sometimes the simple truths of our biology are the hardest to approach with reverence or even acceptance. Thus the resolution: to end my days with gentle determination, to respect my own need to recharge, and to treasure sleep as if it were my greatest asset in 2015.

Because, in some ways, it is.

How about you? Any self-care strategies you’re focusing on in the new year?

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  1. I am still working on GOING FOR A WALK every day. A no expectations, WALK. That’s it. And, no, I haven’t attempted this yet. Nor do I really want to. But I am so out of shape, and I hate it. I wish M&Ms were the key to getting in shape. THEN I would be fit as a fiddle. BUT NO. I have to get UP EARLY and exert myself. Humph.

    Happy New Year Bethany. I think your resolution is perfect. And hard. I have the same problem.

    • I’m right there with you in wishing M&Ms were the key to getting in shape. Also Nutella, mint chocolate ice cream, fudge, pecan pie… should I continue? 🙂 I’ll be cheering you in your walking (seriously, good for you!). We can do hard things!

  2. Beautifully said, Bethany. I cannot stay up as late as I did, and I did it for a very long time. The house was quiet, no one was needing me and I did fun, crafty-type things. No more. And when I can’t sleep, for whatever reason? I hate it! Here’s to a sleep-ful year, eh? I’m glad you’re feeling better, but sorry nobody can ‘name’ this thing for you. That’s tough.

    • Staying up late for crafty things is one of my favorites. Even mending rips in my girls’ jeans is pleasant after hours, maybe with a favorite show on and a big mug of tea… I have to remind myself to look at it as borrowing time from the next day, and not an even amount of time either, because every extra hour I stay up at night is something like four hours of groggy head and general woe the next day. 😀

  3. i support and resemble this resolution. 😀

  4. My goodness is this ever true for me. I fight my nocturnal-ness by exercising during the day (exhausting myself) and attempting a bedtime routine of turning off technology and drinking hot tea…but, in reality, it’s not easy for me to stick too. Thanks for this reminder!

    • I just joined an evening Zumba class in the hopes of wearing myself out nicely for bed too. The turning off technology thing feels pretty close to impossible though, especially with most of my library on Kindle! Still, we work with what we’ve got, right? It helps to know that I’m in good company. 🙂

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