Thursday, January 9, 2014

Waking Up (It's not that hard to do)

When the alarm went off as usual at 4:40 my internal clock told me, with no uncertainty, that I had hours left to sleep, that it was still Christmas vacation, that I was too tired to rise, that the gods must be crazy. It was one of those mornings.

Last night I went to bed early but my older daughter and wife had a deep discussion in our bedroom. This got the younger daughter interested enough to holler from her bedroom that she should come help. I told her no, go to sleep. My older daughter went to bed twenty minutes later, but I was too awake and my wife and I watched The Good Wife.

It was ten when I got back into bed. That's late for me, but I read some more of Colum McCann's Transatlantic, a gorgeous book, perfect before sleep. It was half past ten before I fell asleep and the too-short night ended with the ice-water shock of my alarm at 4:40.

I'm up now. The coffee is hot. My fingers on the keyboard are making good things happen between giant, eye-closing yawns. This is good. Given how little sleep I’ve had, this is great.

It’s not always that I see the good of such things. I woke set to curse myself for having stayed up too late. It was a mistake to watch that show and read those pages. I should have had my daughter and wife take their discussion elsewhere and gotten myself to sleep.

I should have, but I didn't and regret doesn’t change anything.

My choices this morning were pretty clear: get up or go back to sleep. I got up and then chose between cursing myself for staying up or being glad that I got up to write. Choosing to be grateful is where I'm trying to go.

Sure, I wish I had gone to bed earlier, but I'm up, I'm writing, and I'll make it through a sleepy day. Opportunities await. The game goes on.

This coincides with the questions of who I am and who to be. I got thinking yesterday that the biggest mistake I’ve made in twenty years was to take the teaching job I applied for in 2000 and not regard it as a temp job. Prior to this, I worked three years at a place and moved on. It was stressful — I'm as anxious as anyone about change — but it was adventurous and I rose to each challenge. This time, however, I stayed too long. I made half-hearted attempts to leave, but those came to naught. My mistake was believing that the job was good enough and I had no other choices.

I'm thirteen years in and the school has been radically transformed. I feel trapped but unsure how to get into something new.

Still, my alarm has gone off. It's time to get up and start a new day. A new career is slightly more complicated than throwing back the quilt and swinging my feet to the floor, but not that much more complicated. I just need to wake up, make coffee, sit at the keyboard, and write on.