Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sleep is overrated, right?

Have you ever had one of those nights where you know that you should go to bed but you find yourself still awake hours after the first time you tell yourself "I should go to bed."?

Yeah, this is one of those.

Somehow when it comes to getting enough sleep I turn into a stubborn two year old who protests going to bed even as their eyes droop and they fight back yawns.  The difference is that at my age I should really know better.

Logically I know that I have to be awake and functioning in approximately 4.5 hours and on the road in 5 hours, but even knowing this information hasn't gotten me to bed yet.

Part of it, I think, is the fact that when I'm left alone and have no obligations I am quite naturally a night owl.  I am totally at my best when I go to bed around 5 a.m. and wake up around noon.  I need less sleep, and the sleep that I get is more refreshing than when I make myself go to bed at 10 or 11 at night and get up at 6 or 7 a.m.

Why?  I have no idea.  I just know that my body thinks that sunrise is a wonderful thing as long as you haven't been to bed yet, and that morning was made to be slept through.  Breakfast should be lunch, and lunch should be dinner, and dinner should be eaten around 10 p.m. or so.  Or later.

Unfortunately the rest of the world does not seem to share my body's beliefs, and so I am forced to regularly make myself go against my nature and go to bed at what other people consider a "reasonable" time, and get up at oh-god-thirty.  The only thing worse than that is when you have to do it and then deal with the dreaded Morning Person on top of it all.

You know the type, right?  They bounce out of bed as soon as the merest hint of light appears on the horizon, and cheerfully start chattering away at you like they don't have a care in the world.  They ENJOY morning!  I will admit that I have had fantasies of what I would like to do to them as I burrowed deeper under my blankets and pulled my pillow over my head, determinedly ignoring them for as long as possible.  Luckily for the Morning People of the world, I have not given in to those impulses.  Yet.  There was one time, however, when a full 64 ounce Gatorade bottle was only kept from being launched at someone because there was an innocent bystander who was ALSO trying to ignore the Morning Person and the bystander was between us.  I didn't want to miss (my aim is bad at that time of day) and hit her by accident.  If I had been more sure of my aim, though, it would have been a different story.

Take my warning, Morning People.  Be aware that the Night Owl that you are insisting on talking to brightly to is probably envisioning you with a gag in your mouth or some other alternative.  Don't push it.  Just back away slowly and stay away until they have either taken in enough caffeine or Vitamin B Complex to put on a facade of social normalcy, or until it is 11 a.m. at the earliest.  Noon would be even better.  Why take chances?

As for me, right now I am going to head to bed.  I don't want to go to bed.  I'm working really hard to ignore the book sitting next to my computer because I would love to stay up longer and read some more of it.  If I did that, though, I would end up not going to bed at all, and that would make life really difficult later in the day.

So sleep well when you can, and if you can, and if you can't just remember that you are NOT alone.  There are other Night Owls out there, and we empathize!!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Purpose of Life

I passed a sign today that said, "The purpose of life is to have a life of purpose." and while it sounds good to begin with, the more I examined that statement, the less I find that I agree with it.

Don't get me wrong, I think that having purpose in your life is an important thing, and that humanity loses its center when there is no purpose, both on an individual basis and a group basis.  There is a reason that the World War II generation is so often held up to us as a positive example, because they had purpose as individuals and as a society.  They used that purpose to forge themselves into an amazing force for great (and mostly good, with some glaring exceptions) changes in the world.

But overall, do I think that having a life of purpose is THE reason we are alive?  I'm not so sure of that.

You see, as I think about it more and more, I find that I believe our purpose in life is to live..  Not just to exist, or to go about our day to day routine in monotonous regularity without thinking about it, but to really and truly LIVE.  I think that we have a responsibility to ourselves to truly do our best to be fully in each moment.  I believe that we do ourselves a disfavour by letting so many moments pass without investing ourselves in them. 

It isn't easy to fully experience every moment.  Goodness knows I'm no expert at it.  I have way too many moments in my life that slip past me without me realizing it.  Time goes on its wibbly wobbly, timey wimey way and before I know it the day has passed and evening has come and I have let hours slip away without giving them the attention that they deserve.

How many times have you driven home from work, your mind on things like what you have to get done the next day and what you are going to make for dinner, only to find that you are pulling into the garage with little to no recollection of the actual drive there?  Have you ever looked up and realized that you were halfway to where you wanted to go, but had no recollection of driving the first half of the route?  I have done that often, and it startles me every time.

As a result of my realization I have been making a concerted effort to be more present in my life.  I try not to wish that time would pass more quickly so that I can get to some special moment because I honestly feel that every moment has its own glimmer of special if we can find it.  That is not to say that it is wrong to look forward to things, or to remember other things fondly, but rather that I want to experience each moment that I have, and to experience it fully and completely.  I may still look forward to a special moment, or even dread a moment that is coming up, but I do not want that anticipation to drown out the experiences that I have before the anticipated time arrives.

I wonder how it would change our lives and our worlds if we all spent more time in The Now, really letting each moment shine on its own, than we currently do.  I think about how perhaps there would be fewer accidents, fewer misunderstandings, and fewer hurt feelings or mis-spoken words.  I can't be sure, but I would like to think so, anyway.

For now, I encourage you to allow yourself to live in the moment more often.  Be aware of the future and of what has gone past, but give the weight of your attention to the moment and all that it encompassees.  I think that you will find it interesting, and that you will find that it gets easier as you go and hopefully, sometime soon, we will start to see the positive results of that effort.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Contentment Times Three

Some people are cat people and some people are dog people, and then there are those of us who are both.  Now, currently I fall into the cat people category because we haven't got a dog.  At first we were reluctant to get one because we were away so much between Faire and Screams and work and everything else.  When I started having more time at home we decided that it would be best to wait because Jasmine, our 13 year old cat, has been tolerant of us bringing home other kitties, but we think that a puppy would push her past her limits.  So no doggies for now.  But there will be a dog or dogs in our future, as well as cats.  I'm a firm believer in cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria!

Cats are amazing.  They really are.  There's just something about them that can make your day instantly better when they curl up next to you (or on you) and start purring.

I am currently in a state of Kitty Contentment Times Three.  I have one cat in my lap, one curled up in Shado's recliner near me, and one curled up in the office chair across the room.  They're all happily napping, occasionally stretching and mrrrring, and just sharing space with me.

Triple Kitty Contentment is a happy state of mind.  I woke up this morning with The Destructor curled up between my knees, Cobweb The Magnificent against my side, and Her Imperial Majesty Jasmine The Southern Belle curled up against Cobweb and my hip.  Do you know how hard it is to get up out of bed when you have three cats comfortably nestled against you?

I know that there are those of you wondering why I'm maundering on about cats without any sort of point.  It is hard to explain, really.  All that I can tell you is that my life is made easier by my four-footed little furballs.  Yes, they add chores in terms of things like scooping kitty litter, washing and filling food and water dishes, extra cleaning to get the stray fur off furniture and carpets.  And they add extra expenses for food, litter, vet visits and the like.  I know.  But they also add some undefined, unexplainable wonderfulness.  It is like their contentment is contagious, and when they're feeling it, they radiate it outwards into the world and make life just a little mellower.

Everyone needs something in their life that makes them pause and take a deep breath and just enjoy life now and then.  Right now for me that something is my cats.  I'm so very lucky that they have consented to live here and be spoiled rotten.  I honestly can't imagine my life without them.  I just know that having them around makes me ...yup...content. :)