It is 4:45 a.m. on a dark Saturday morning. I have friends who regularly arise at this hour. Honestly, it is too early for me. But, awake by 4 o’clock, my thoughts began to spin in my head. Eventually, I got up, relieved my bladder full of the water I drank before bed and wrote down a few things to prompt action when I was completely awake. Returning to bed, I realized that although I am still recovering from a major surgery and have been careful to not physically over do it, I must be mentally stressed. It is the second time this week that my old friend insomnia has paid a visit. For the last few months, sleep was my friend – coming easily and staying with me, wrapping me in comfort for seven hours of blissful slumber. Even when my surgical site was sore, I slept fairly well.
Stress. I know all too well what causes it for me. Most times, I put the things on my plate that are causing the stress. This is the case with some of what put my feet on the ground at this ungodly hour. Graduate school. I have spent hours reading Thoreau this week. Even though I am environmentally minded and a self-proclaimed conservationist, I have not enjoyed this week’s assigned readings. Now that the readings are done, I need to write a paper by Sunday night. Writing papers are not a problem for me at all, but there is no prompt, just a summary of several different assigned sources on Thoreau. I am finding I have to push myself to sit down and do it. This is very unlike me. A Research Study. Yes, I am designing a study to evaluate the influence participation in my elementary garden club had on former students’ development of environmental stewardship. This is an independent study for credits with a 796 designation. I hope to publish my findings. Since it is an independent study, I have had to regularly “bug” my professor – not something I enjoy. Currently, I am anxiously awaiting her response to my survey so I can submit it to the IRB committee at the University I attend.
Stress. The opening of a book I thought was closed. I wrote my opinion about something and shared it publicly, on my blog. It caused a backlash. I can handle it. But, I spent a great deal of time yesterday pulling out resources, drumming up facts, and making copies of old meeting agendas and minutes. In the last twelve hours, I have put my support network into action, copied a year’s worth of paperwork, and have been ruminating about what I want to say, the order in which I want to say it, and what other pieces of information I need to provide to state my case. It is old. It is something I do not wish to involve myself in any longer. Yet, here I am, dragged into some drama by someone else because of what I wrote. I have a right to my opinion. And a right to share it, whether it be the preferred way someone hears it or not. As I said earlier, I can handle this. Locally, no one has advocated for students in the last ten years more than me. It is just stressful because it is another thing to do; another thing during a time I should be resting. Although I look normal and feel pretty good, I am not fully recovered from my surgery. I know that. I feel that. I am not pleased I have something more to do than was already planned. Sleep is elusive when I feel pushed into defending myself or my views.
Another thing that came to mind when I was laying in bed listening to my husband’s slow, measured breath was something I promised my senior I would do for him. He is taking a values class and I have to write his eulogy. Emotionally, that is hard for a mother to do. Yet, I try to always do what I say I will do. So later today, when I need a break from writing about Thoreau, I will work on that composition. He is a great kid, so I will write him a great life. Perhaps, it will be more fun than I think.
Finally, my husband is changing jobs in the near future. I am thrilled for him. It is the right move at the right time. But, change is stressful. Major life decisions are stressful.
So, as I head into today – after walking with a friend this morning – I will be working on reducing my stress by completing some of the tasks I have in front of me. I will probably need a nap. But, I am looking forward to Monday, when most of the busy work has been taken care of and I can relax enough to sleep.