I had another burn-my-own-chances-for-success evening/morning. Last night, I came home from work, tired. I had every intention of going to bed at a decent hour. I lectured myself on my car ride home. I need to get enough rest, enough sleep, if I want to make changes in my life, changes that will help me grow as a person.
But, instead of eating a light dinner and going to bed, I stayed up reading.
Did I really need to find out what happened in the next chapter?
I was avoiding going to bed.
If I went to bed, the day would be over. Done. All the things I wanted to do, but hadn’t, would remain unfinished. Yes, it’s childlike behavior. I’m no better than a three-year-old in that sense. It’s not like I accomplished anything else. In fact, I sabotaged this morning’s routine. I woke up tired. Irritable. That’s what happens when you don’t get enough sleep.
Want to know what else happens?
Not enough sleep gives me the perfect excuse to avoid living my life. It justifies me not wanting to get out of my pajamas. It says, “Hey, you don’t need to work on your living room clutter. You’re tired. You deserve a day off. You don’t need to write. You don’t need to do anything.” And the things is, I’ve done this soooo many times before. It’s another way to justify procrastinating. It’s another way of avoiding success. My subconscious is a genius, really. Not only do I have a valid reason for getting out of whatever it is I’m avoiding, I’m also so tired, I can’t physically perform at my peak, further justifying my behavior.
I didn’t understand this before today. It’s like a lightbulb went off in my head. I’ve been having a LOT of lightbulb moments as I go through the exercises in Julia Cameron’s books. I like that she doesn’t try to fix you. She doesn’t make you feel guilty. She doesn’t force you to commit to a bunch of weird mumbo-jumbo. She just holds up the mirror so you can see yourself a little more clearly.
Lately, I’ve had mixed feelings about what I’ve seen, what I’ve learned about myself. On the one hand, I’m learning to take care of myself. I have value as a person. I am intelligent and creative. If I know these things are true, then why do my actions often tell a different story? When I write my morning pages, I often wake up with fear regarding my future, even though a night’s rest should have theoretically left me with a clean slate for the new day.
This morning, I woke up with a feeling of dread. I didn’t want to start a new day. I wanted to stay under the covers and wallow. Lack of sleep made this strategy seem especially appealing. I had to force myself to get dressed. I had to force myself to go through another plastic bin in my living room. I had to force myself to eat something solid this morning, something besides coffee. I had to push myself to do the things that are going to help me get through this day. Pajamas, while WONDERFUL, are not going to help me get any work done. While I did go through the motions of getting things done, in reality, I could have given myself the gift of a better day. I made a decision. I decided it was OK to put aside my dreams once more.