Sleeping Wrong 

I am not sleeping the way I should be. I go to sleep around 1 a.m. most nights, wake up at 10 a.m., and then take a nap in the middle of the afternoon. The nap is a recent occurrence of the past two days. You would think that nine hours of sleep would be enough, but then again, those nine hours are pretty restless. One night, I woke up at least ten times, tossing and turning. Other nights, I am awoken by the cat around four a.m. because she needs to be let outside.

Today was hot, at least 90 degrees, which made my afternoon nap more unpleasant than refreshing. I did wake up with more energy, but I had a metallic taste in my mouth and was very thirsty. I need to eat and exercise better to improve my health, but my mood makes finding the motivation to do either very hard. On the other hand, I have not being feeling 100% physically aside from the problems I just mentioned. I had a weird phlegmy cough that made me think that on top of everything else, I might be coming down with a cold or something.

But all of this: the not eating right, the not feeling well, the not getting things done is just a sideshow to the thoughts about college and my future. Of course, I am talking about two futures, the imagined one of five years ago, and the real one. The first future is the failed one. I had imagined that I would be successful as an English Professor and that, by now, I would be well on the way to publishing papers in literary journals, grading freshman essays, and doing my best to achieve the financial security I imagined for myself. The reality is that I am back in school trying for another career path that has a lot of similarities to the other failed one, except this time I am questioning my ability to achieve the new one in light of my past failures.

I had been telling myself that the reason I did not become an English Professor was largely a combination of circumstances and bad luck. If I made a few decisions that slightly altered things as they were, I would be in an office, pouring over those essays. But now, the benefit of experience, combined with my ill mood, makes me think the problem lies "not in the stars," so to speak, but in myself. Maybe it is a defect in my ambition. I seem to want more than I can realistically achieve. Therefore, I over-extend myself emotionally and financially, only to collapse into a heap of failure, paralyzing my will or ability to get on my feet again. Maybe there really is a physical source to my issues. Maybe, due to brain chemistry, I am not as equipped or able to gracefully navigate the world of social interactions the way a "normal" person might. I don't know.

I spend most of the day either thinking about such things or trying not to think of them. The latest worry is a form of concern about getting older. My youth is fading and that is becoming daily more apparent. I can appreciate the wisdom of age, but sometimes, that is cold comfort in our culture, where youth is sometimes seen as the highest moral virtue.

12 September 2009
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