Scandalous. Which, by my typing it makes you realize it probably wasn’t that bad. Scandals are so common that even federal offenses don’t stand out. My scandal was internal. I slept in, almost until 8AM. Life in the Gig Economy kicked in with a quick assessment of what I might have missed. The good news was, nothing. The other good news was because of two or three or a few simple things that could finally line up to put nine hours between when I fell into bed and when I finally dove into the day.
Wake up and check in with everyone’s constant companion, the internet. It is too common now that people, like me, check their computer, tablet, or smartphone before their feet hit the floor. Our computers have trained us well.
Hey, email; anything important that’s about to reschedule the day, and maybe start it off with a panic? No? Whew.
Hey, stocks; anything in the portfolio actually moving the way I want it to? No. Rats.
Hey, social media; any notifications that are things I want to get notified about? Yeah, somewhat, kinda, but nothing urgent. Just stuff that I like to see: friends enjoying life, stuff like that.
At least for a short while, I’m one of the lucky ones that doesn’t have to check texts. I still use a flip phone. Most of my friends and associates know that email or – gasp – a real phone call is a better way to get in touch with me.
So much for lounging in bed. It’s become a crowded place, virtually.
That’s the norm, now. Work drives life. Wake up, get to it, and don’t stop until you have to because fewer get to stop when they want to. Hence, my trip to one of my friends who does excellent massages. (referrals available upon request)
She’s back in town after a departure that doesn’t need to be explained here. Hours of staring at the computer and clicking the mouse is an improvement over this time last year when I was doing all of that plus writing for several outlets. Carpal tunnel, sore neck and shoulders, tight forehead, and even a tight chest meant a simple head and neck massage meant following the strain all the way down to my lower back. I was so tight that, after a session or two my eyesight improved. My muscles were so contracted that the blood vessels were constricted. Relax. Relax. It had been about a year since my last massage. Go ahead work it all out, head to toe.
That probably helped me sleep better. Simple things like being able to bend down to pick something off the floor was suddenly easier. Gotta get back to karate, exercise, meditation, and stretching. Ah, but work.
Walk into a coffeeshop or an office and notice people bowing to their computers. Face tilted forward and down. Brow wrinkled. Eyes concentrating. Hands poised over the keyboard as if in prayer. Maybe even some arcane mumbling going on. Faces glowing in the soft light. Who’s in charge? Ergonomics experts must be in great demand, or are in anguish over watching what we do. Throw in the evidence that light from screens is training us to stay up late, and don’t be surprised if getting to sleep is difficult.
Fortunately, I live in a state with legal recreational marijuana. Ironically, I waited until the recreational use was legal, but I use it medicinally. Rather than light a pipe when I get home, I continue to pour a glass of wine or maybe just water. When it’s time for bed, though, here comes the pipe, or the homemade marijuana-infused rum, or good brownies, or some combination depending on the day. Maybe even some CBD oil. And CBD seems to be the key. Since marijuana legalization I’ve used marijuana to quiet my nerves, literally. Get the dosage right and my muscles spasms fade. Make the dose too small, and bump it a notch with a puff on the pipe. Make the dose too big, and get so fascinated by the world that I stay awake wondering at it. Now, however, I’ve switched from high THC (which produces a high) to high CBD (which just seems to be very mellow.) Last night was a good batch of brownies, and I basically slept through the night – slept through as well as any 60-ish male can who has to get up a few times to get rid of water.
Sleeping in may seem like a simple thing to many people. I know too many who wake up worried. Even without a computer they’re justifiably worried about the money coming in versus the money going out, whether they’ll have a home, or food, or health. Their worries aren’t abstract futures. They’re worries are about the next hour or two. Too many feel best hiding under the covers, not in a playful way, not in a luxurious way, but in a way of retreating from the world. I’ve been there. Now, I can make fun of myself for waking up with an iPad with a different set of worries. Silly me. As if there was a plan and any of us are in control – and yet, those who don’t have enough to pay their bills must try.
While I quickly made a smaller breakfast, I asked myself how I managed to sleep in. Guilt gets delivered naturally, thanks to my childhood training. Enjoying the moment kicked in that scandalous moment. What did I miss? What should I have done? Who will be upset? By the time I realized that nobody cared the opportunity to relax was gone.
A friend frequently asks me a question I even more frequently ask myself; “What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money?” Lots of introspection suggests that, If I won millions through the lottery, my greatest luxuries would start with relaxing, helping others relax, and enjoying life. I probably would’t even sleep in much. The world is a fascinating place and there’s so much to do and so much that needs to be done. Decades of stress probably would lead to years of massages, trips, undoubtedly dancing, and a lot of time in nature. And, if I did sleep in, I might just roll over – at least for a while. As for the computer, well, it would sleep in, too.