When I was a little girl, I hated naps. I felt like I was going to miss something important. I remember vividly being told to lay down on the living room couch. It was a fancy couch with a pattern of raised red fabric on a white background. The red part was a really short velvet-like texture. If I fell asleep without a pillow, the patterns would transfer to my face.
I remember one nap time of resistance in which I laid down and kept calling to my mother in the nearby kitchen,
“Can I wake up now?”
“Can I wake up NOW?”
“How about now? Can I wake up, now?”
I was a stupid college student for so many years, putting practice, studying, performing, bartending, socializing, and anything else ahead of sleep. I’d crash on the weekend, but somehow made it through the week with 3-4 hours of sleep each night. I’m sure sleep deprivation made for many stupid decisions.
When I became a mom, sleep deprivation was a whole new (pardon the irony) awakening. I’ve heard the phrase “bone tired” but didn’t feel it until the twinning. Somehow, the aliens ended up cooperating with a sleep routine. Or maybe I got good at sleeping when they did. However it happened, we are all still alive today.
Now that I’m in my 50s, I still have to consciously observe my sleep habits. As much as I try to build a regular routine around work at the office and my own projects, I have to be more mindful of how I pace myself for late night rehearsals.
For the past year, I consoled my grief with lots of sleep. Too much sleep. I was lost and frustrated by my situation. Now that I’m not in the pits of that sadness, I’ve got stuff I want to do. The goal is to get out of bed at 5:30am so I can do three important mind/body health things before I go into work by 7:30am. I want to be home by 2pm to give myself the rest of the afternoon to work on my own projects, or finish up Bel Canto deadlines. Family dinner is important to us and afterward, I want to spend time with my family or friends, or enjoy a good book, watch a movie, write, or listen deeply to music.
When I was at Lehigh, in order to meet all the work of the admin position, teaching, M.Ed., and community engagement, I would regularly go back to campus in the evening or back to South Bethlehem on the weekends. Eleven years of this pace. Now I choose to do go out at night because I want to be there – not because I feel like I have to be there for institutional representation. It’s. So. Liberating!
But what to do about getting enough sleep on the days I have a late night rehearsal? Sleep a little later the morning of the late night rehearsal. Adjust the day. And try to recover the next day with lots of deep breaths.
91 of 100