16 Hours

I managed to get two hours of sleep last night. When combined with the 4-5 hours I've gotten each night since Sunday, my total amount of asleep time when I woke up this morning was approximately 16.

16 out 96 hours spent resting and restoring. 16 hours giving my brain the chance to drum up more genius.

Needless to say, when I woke up this morning, my eyes were gritty, my head was pounding, and my patience was thin. There was no joy.

This life is living me.

New rule: I will go to sleep at 11pm. If the work isn't finished, it will be done the next day. I am no good to anyone on 16 hours of sleep stretched over an entire week.

I did mark something off my life list. I recorded two commercials for my local radio station. I mean, I've recorded commercials before, but those were for my volunteer group and I did them because no one else would. The two commercials this morning were ones the station sought me out for and gave me money to record.

I'm an official voice artist. It may never happen again, but it's kinda my dream, so I'm ready to bask.

Only I'm so run down that I couldn't. All I could do was hold my seams together until the children had another adult to supervise them and then I zombie walked to my bed and allowed my self to unravel into unconsciousness.

No one even congratulated me on my achievement ... because there was no shine on me to alert them.

New rule: I have to narrow my focus so that achievements are things to celebrate and not just notches on the belt labeled work.

I woke up after an hour or so of delirium to a hot pot of potato soup (from a mix, but the water was added with love by someone who's not me) and a slice of cheese cake. I ate and felt alive for the first time in days.

Then in a flurry of texts and emails, I cancelled two speaking engagements for tonight and tomorrow. I dreamed about waking up rested tomorrow and cleaning my house and being creative and indulging in the sights, sounds, and textures of fall. I dreamed about hiking with the kids and taking pictures with my new camera.

I decided that on Sunday, I'd carve out time to get ahead on the work week because I have two seminars to teach, a support group to start, a volunteer group meeting to attend, and a parade lurking less than a month away.

And then I realized that just minutes after deconstructing my weekend, I was already elaborately constructing it right back.

New rule: I will protect my weekends, even if it means I don't "grow my brand" or I can't fully capitalize on opportunities to fundraise for my sister or I start Monday with a to-do list longer than Friday's.

I can't be everything to everyone.

I can't be the marketing maven and the homemaker and the fundraising coordinator and the wife. The roles are just words but they sum up hours of work and deep reserves of energy. I don't have enough energy to effectively embody any of those labels when I'm trying to embody all of those labels.

The good news is rain is falling in sheets so I can't feel like a slob for not taking my kids on that hike and I won't have to hustle the kids out of the house first thing in the morning for a football game and when I lay down again, the sounds of rain and wind will lull me right to sleep.

Only that early evening nap has left me wired. I read 143 blog posts in the past couple hours while the man snored beside me and the DVR hours opened up. A quick time check reveals it's 2:42am.

New rule: I'll never be able to follow all these rules. Hold me to all of them but don't judge me when I follow none of them.

And so there's nothing left to do here but lay my body down and let my brain rest and enjoy the sounds of no technology until the exhaustion wins.

Do you have rules? How do you follow them? Are you judging me?


  • Melissa Camara Wilkins

    Never judging you, not ever.

    I avoid thinking too hard about what rules I might have/want/need, because if I acknowledge them, it'll just be more obvious that I'm not following them. ;)

    I hope this weekend is miraculously restorative for you. At least the rain's cooperating!

  • Melissa Camara Wilkins

    And also? CONGRATULATIONS!!! You are awesome.

  • ayala

    Congratulations, Kelly. I hope you get rest this weekend!

  • BigLittleWolf

    "This life is living me."

    Oh, how I understand the truth of those words - so much heavier on too little sleep, too many commitments, and long stretches ahead of the same.

    GOOD FOR YOU. (And do try to catch a few winks when you can.)

    As for rules?

    I gave them up, and went with guidelines - to be followed to the best of my ability, given the realities of the world I inhabited with my children. I've found it to be a somewhat more flexible and less punishing way to live with myself.


  • Bibliomama

    Who the hell is going to judge you? Everything you're doing is important and meaningful, it's just too much for one person to do. But how do you decide what to say no to? If it was easy, everyone would have it figured out. And congratulations - I would listen to your voice advertising anything.

  • amber_mtmc

    Of course I am not judging you. This crazy aspect comes with wanting to accomplish something and I definitely hear you--it's why I wake up at 5 on the weekdays but might need to adjust that to 4. Good grief! I feel like soon my mornings will disappear as I wake earlier to get things done. So, I get it, lady.

  • Cheryl

    A very belated congratulations, Kelly! That is so awesome.

    New rules are good to have, even if they're not totally followed. I think there's a lot to be said for simply making these realizations.

    I hope that as I continue to catch up on your blog I read that you're well rested now. :)

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