Archives for category: Sleepless Nights

The sun rises later these days than it did back in June. The Autumnal Equinox is tomorrow. It’s quite early and I am at a local trailhead adjacent to a meadow, not far from home. I am waiting for the sunrise, drinking coffee, yawning, and wishing I had slept in. I’ve got my camera ready for my morning walk.

My morning camera walks serve a purpose; they get me out of the house with my camera for a bit of fun, exercise, and “me time”, and they also give my partner a shot at some deep sleep. (When I am asleep I sometimes snore, and when I am awake I am often a bit clumsy and noisy at least until I am fully awake). This approach works for us, but tends to be a seasonal solution. Already I have begun to resist waking up so early, where in past weeks I struggled to sleep during these early hours. The later sunrise is the culprit.

…The early hours betwixt day and night are a good time for meditation and reflection.

An orange glow begins as a thread on the horizon, becoming a sort of messy smudge as minutes pass. Still not enough light for my lens, and the trail alongside the park and meadow, which passes through a vineyard, is still quite dark. I wait. I yawn. I tried to snatch a few minutes of nap time for myself, but the mornings are now also too chilly and I don’t even doze off for a moment – I just yawn. lol

Waiting for the sunrise.

…I think about work and routines and future mornings and finish my coffee. I develop a cramp in my right foot and shift in my seat until I can easily massage it until the cramp eases. The western sky takes on hints of ultramarine and dark lavender. The eastern horizon becomes more peach and tangerine, with swaths of gray-blue clouds sweeping across the sky. This is not wasted time; I love watching the sun rise.

The dawn of a new day.

The sun is up. The coffee is gone. I’ve gotten a good walk in and snapped some pictures. My Traveling Partner sends me a message; he is awake. The day begins in earnest. I have no idea what today will bring… looks like it’s time to get started and find out. 😁

I’m on my third coffee this morning. I slept poorly. My Traveling Partner slept poorly. I slipped away early in the morning hoping he would be able to get some better sleep, but that didn’t work out ideally well. I am sitting in the studio, drinking coffee and considering the causes and the potential outcomes, and wondering how best to be helpful.

“Being considerate” may very well be one of the most powerful skills (and practices) that a person can bring to social relationships (of all kinds). I have found it sometimes a bit difficult to define “consideration” – in spite of placing it high on my list of things to look for in relationships. I see people who are “considerate” practicing deep listening, explicit expectation-setting, skillful boundary setting, asking clarifying questions, testing their assumptions, yielding their natural desire to be “right” preferring to be kind, making an explicit effort to refrain from “centering themselves” in every circumstance or conflict, and being very comfortable making a prompt apology when another person points out a transgression. That seems like a lot to manage, but it really does all map to “consideration” – as in, genuinely considering what those around them are going through or may need.

Let’s be clear on one point; I don’t see considerate people being doormats or open to being abused or mistreated. They use boundary setting and expectation setting with great skill and comfort. They consider their own needs along side the needs of others, and make a point of practicing good self-care, too.

Lacking fundamental consideration leads people to casually mistreat others without intention – and often without noticing, and sometimes following-up by callously doubling-down on that mistreatment by attempting to deflect blame (by way of excusing their actions as “unintended”). Doesn’t really “make things right” to do things that way, and feels still more inconsiderate. People who are inconsiderate are by far more common than people who are considerate! It has become socially “normal” to see (or have to accommodate) inconsiderate behavior from others. People are busy. Self-involved. Dealing with their own shit. Struggling to heal trauma. Uneducated about the impact their choices/words/behavior has on others. Unaware how much difference consideration can make. There’s a lot going on with inconsiderate people. Most of it is even shit everyone has going on in life. One thing that isn’t going on with inconsiderate people; they are not being “considerate” (probably a huge timesaver, I don’t know…).

Consideration and considerate behavior isn’t “natural” to human primates; we learn it from our social group(s) – and therefore must teach it to our companions, explicitly. Children generally get taught “sharing” – a part of consideration. Every element of consideration probably needs to be explicitly taught. As a culture we’re clearly falling down on the job, there, based on the general rise in inconsiderate behavior, basic rudeness, and prevalent violence. I’m pretty certain that very considerate people are likely less prone to violence. It’s something to think about.

Today, I’m struggling with “my nature”; I tend to be very considerate (of others), but also tend to fail myself on the self-care and boundary-setting side of things. Knowing my Traveling Partner did not sleep well, I consider what I can do to be helpful, or to at least minimize the potential for stress or conflict in our relationship due to the both of us being fatigued and in pain. It’s complicated. What does he need? What does he want? Can I provide those things? Is guessing at them wise? What about me? What do I need, myself? Can I meet his needs and my own? When do well-intentioned inquiries about what he needs become invasive or pestering? How do I prevent my own boundary and expectation-setting needs from being swept aside in the pursuit of a gentle day together (under difficult circumstances)? What is reasonable, and what is excessive? How far do I take “not taking things personally” before it becomes entirely necessary to “push back” or point out a boundary – and how do I do that gently enough to also avoid sounding “bitchy” or unreasonable?

My anxiety simmers in the background, and that’s not at all helpful. Consideration, like “mindfulness”, is something that takes quite a bit of actual practice (at least for me). It’s not my “default” human behavior. It is, however, something I value quite a lot – enough to keep practicing. Enough that it matters to achieve mastery – and balance.

It’s a new day. There are opportunities to be a better person than I was yesterday. There will be verbs involved, and practice required. My results will no doubt vary. It’s a good time to begin again. 🙂

It’s a descriptive phrase, is it not? “Hitting the wall”… That’s where I am. It’s been a long, purpose-filled, practical sort of Saturday, and I got a lot done. My Traveling Partner and his son, too, filled their day with purpose and completed tasks on a big project (rebuilding the CNC machine in the shop). I see my partner’s fatigue on his face, and in his posture as he moves through the room. I heard it in my step-son’s voice. I feel it in my bones – that down deep fatigue that is sometimes the last recollection before exhaustion (and sleep) finally overtake me. It’s easy to confuse this feeling with anhedonia – I am for sure “out of fucks to give” at this point, though it’s only that I’m fatigued. Aside from fatigue and physical pain (still have that headache I woke with and my back aches), I’m feeling mostly fairly merry, although I am utterly unreliable about showing it, I’m just that tired.

I’ve hit a wall. I’m done. That’s it. The truth of it? I could force myself to continue to put one foot after the other, if it were urgently necessary for life-saving or crisis management purposes, and I’ve done so under worse conditions by far – but I sure don’t intend to if I don’t have to. I’m wiped out. No “spoons” left at all. It will feel like a noteworthy effort to make my way to bed when that time comes. I don’t see that being very far off, at all, although it is only 19:30 right now. LOL

I have a video on. I’ll end up watching it again some other time if I really want to ingest this content; I’m only half engaged (in anything), and I won’t remember any of this.

G’damn I wish my neck didn’t ache so much. I wish my back didn’t hurt, and that this headache had gone away politely after I took a headache remedy this morning. (It didn’t help, but I had hoped…) I hope to be able to lay this mortal body down and drift off to a deep solid sleep and wake rested and pain-free some hours later. Pain is one of those things that has the potential to prevent me from falling asleep. I’m so tired I just make note of that not-uncommon experience. The thought dissipates as quickly as it developed. I lack concern; I’m too tired for concern. LOL

I sip this glass of iced tea, unconcerned that it might keep me up; I’m too tired to worry about it, and too tired for it to be a thing to be worried over. I think over the day and the week. It’s been good. I’ve gotten a lot done in the days since I accepted the offer for my new job. I’m excited to start, generally speaking, and also excited about this time – my time – between jobs. Leisure time. Productive time. Time helping my partner with his business. Time helping myself through self-study. Time for indulging myself, reading books. Time in the garden. Time soaking in the hot tub. Time learning new, other, things to do with managing my anxiety. Time well-spent.

…I’d say something about “time to begin again”, but I’m honestly too tired for that right now… I’ll begin again tomorrow. lol

I will soon be measuring self-care in miles kilometers… or maybe pounds kilograms. I’m looking forward to my camping trip. Excited about the location. Excited about the downtime. Giving my gear a little side-eye. There is real effort involved in packing my gear to the site, and then packing it back out. I’m not even bitching – a lot of things require a handful of verbs and some real effort. Sweat.

The forecast is for some sunny summer weather. Not horrifically hot (or I’d cancel and stay home), and definitely summer. There is a small chance of rain showers about mid-way through my trip. My Traveling Partner teases me about the potential I may give up on it and come home early. I often do. About 40% of my camping plans face some sort of significant change between plan and execution. I don’t take that personally about myself – it’s not a lack of commitment to the adventure. It’s more a firm commitment to skillfully taking care of myself. I’m okay with that. 😀

I still haven’t found my Kindle. My Traveling Partner gently suggests, perhaps, maybe, there is some limited potential that I may have, inadvertently, tossed it out in some careless or absent-minded moment? I can’t eliminate that possibility. I’ll no doubt have to replace it at some point. In the meantime, it’s not a high priority, and I’ve got plenty of bound books. I pick a couple for the trip. My partner buys me a book he thinks I’d enjoy and I add that to my items to be packed.

Looks like an interesting selection. Where to begin? Feynman.

I am looking forward to this handful of hot days with a light heart. A few miles on the trail and a couple days in the trees with my camera sounds really good, and I am ready to go. 🙂 One more night of good sleep here at home, and coffee with this human being I hold so dear, and then… some time listening to myself think. 😀

It’s time to begin again.

Omg, just… fuck this entire day, already. I’d laugh but I’m still working through pulling myself back from the brink of this absolutely pointless and unproductive tantrum. Honestly, I suspect I’m just thoroughly “peopled out” and then some; I really really really earnestly and most definitely just need a real break and some time (days) alone. It feels like one thing after another, right now, and I’m at grave risk moment-to-moment of losing perspective. I mean – it could be worse. I could be living a life that puts me at real risk of actual harm. This is not that. I could be struggling to survive at all, and this is not that, either. I’m just fussy, and over having to attend to the demands of others around me (without regard to whether those are reasonable, or whether I’m paid to deal with those). Over. It. I need some me time, and I’ve let this need go unmet too long, most recently simply because I was too sick to enjoy the plans I had made to meet this need – the postponement was necessary. Now I’ve just got to get through this week…

…One new beginning at a time.

So, yeah. I’m cross. My morning hike was okay. The sunrise was lovely. It was fine. Hard to find real satisfaction in it; my Traveling Partner woke while I was out on the trail. Our first (digital) interaction was complicated by my involvement with other things and his pre-coffee state. Misunderstanding and miscommunication – sorted out before I returned home, but before any of that, it distracted me from my own experience and what I was doing (for myself) in the moment. Later I got to be talked-down-to by a stranger helping my neighbor next door. He could not have known I am an artist and I work in color – a lot – or that I’m knowledgeable about such matters. A discussion between my partner and I about the color the house next door is being painted opened the door for this other person to “helpfully” interject his opinions. I managed not to bite his head off, but I was on the edge of being rude when I firmly dismissed his opinion and turned my back. Two or three more such moments, in the context of the work day, stacked up on each other and I’m just fucking done. I have shit to do, and prefer to be quietly productive and not interrupted. So far, even that isn’t working out ideally well.

I end up starting my Monday cross with the world, and daydreaming about my upcoming camping trip intently. I keep pulling myself back to the work in front of me – which reminds me how irritable I am, all over again. Not my best bit of adulting, today. I let my irritability keep driving me to follow-up on the details. Power bricks all charged? No? Do that. Hey, how about that Kindle? Am I taking it? Maybe? Is it charged? No? Do that, too. Camera batteries all fully charged? They get their turn on the charger, too. Are my toiletries packed for camping? I make a note to tackle that on a break, later. Little details that matter out on the trail; I just keep at it. The thoughts come. I put them to use. It’s one way to burn off some of this irritation through useful activity. My results vary, but I figure if I just keep at it, eventually I’ll be over my bullshit.

No idea what the noise outside is… sounds like someone cranking an engine that will not start. Could be something to do with the painting going on next door. A construction project in my partner’s shop? I just want to work. I just want to stop hearing things. My tinnitus is so loud… how is there still all this annoying noise?? I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Remind myself to let it go; none of this, not any of it, is at all personal – even my irritability is likely more symptomatic than “about” anything happening right now. I put on noise canceling ear-covering heavily padded headphones. No music. Just… quiet. It’s that day. At least right now. Now I’ve simply got to nudge myself in the direction of beginning again…