Those little thoughts right when you close your eyes, and the world just feels so heavy, are enough to drag you right out of the promise of sleep. I have those a lot. I haven’t slept right for a long time, and my cardiologist (yes, I have cardiologist–now that I am a man of a certain age) tells me in a very off-handed way that problems like heart arrythmia, high cholesterol, etc. can all be tied to people not getting enough sleep.
Those thoughts that come into my head just as I am about to drift off are cruel. They are those stupid moments that I could have thought about all day long, and at the very least done something about. Why they come to bother me just at that threshold of waking and dreaming, I don’t know. I hate it. So, I take the pills prescribed to me to sleep. Pills that have warnings on them about kidney, liver, and ironically enough, heart damage as potential side-effects.
The most peace I get is when I am productive. When I sit down and I write my story, but there are even nights when the story is still wanting to be told and I can’t sleep. Tonight is a little like that. It’s late. I should be in bed, asleep, but I know I will just lie there and hear my own heart beating, those little whispers will climb into my head and I won’t be able to sleep. My dog will put her head on my chest until I am still or roll over on my side, and she will go to the foot of the bed. Sometimes she will start snoring, but I’m not asleep. I will roll back and forth a few times until she comes back up to soothe me again with her head on my chest.
Tomorrow I have more podcasts I want to record, but I usually only do this at night, when the streets are quiet. During the day, my same loving companion barks like an idiot at any noise she hears. And in the day, there are the doubts that don’t affect me at night. The doubts of “What are you doing?” Somehow, in the quiet of the night, I feel like anything is possible. During the day, like today, I only see what I am getting behind on. Today, it was dishes.
I am a firm believer that the state of your home is a reflection of your mental health. For the last few days, I have neglected my chores. The dishes have piled up and even though I haven’t been cooking much or eating much, somehow there was a sink and counter full of dishes that took nearly three hours to wash. I also cleaned my kitchen, vacuumed my floors, and hung laundry outside on a rare, sunny November day.
Sometimes it’s like that joke. If you want a job done, it can be good, cheap, or done quickly. But you can only pick two. In my case, I can keep the house clean, eat right and exercise, or write. Pick two.
Days like today, I could no longer ignore my dishes.
I have my nights too where I feel lonely, but not in a way that makes me want to compromise my peace anymore. My peace, my values, any of it. After all that housework today, my hips were aching from being on my feet all day, so I took a nap. I watched some TV, and I wrote a little bit. Yesterday was a big writing day. Even with a sink full of funky dishes, I scripted out three more podcast episodes. I took a bath to relax and wrote the last one in the tub using the Notes app on my phone. I’m running each one at about 1500 words. Total was around 4500 words for the day. And editing on the book.
Some of the episodes are going to be about what I know about writing and publishing, some are going to be about my life up here in the mountains, and some are going to be about my travels. Right now I’m working on a series about Ireland, which will post intermittently. My podcast is called Sixty Miles from Anywhere if you are interested. You can find it on Spotify, Amazon Music, and other places you find podcasts.
It has been a lot of fun to script these episodes and record them in my office. I can’t believe the accoustics in my new office as opposed to the house where I was living two years ago. Jeez…two years went by so quickly. I was just thinking about my last international trip. My first solo international trip to the UK. That was three years ago already. 2019. How things have changed in the last few years. I don’t want to make a habit of traveling so infrequently. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, since I was seventeen, and unfortunately, due to a shitty marriage, I had to put those dreams on hold for a while. My visit to Ireland was amazing. Different than the UK in a lot of ways. Easier in some ways because I had the experience from my last trip, but also more challenging in other ways. I couldn’t pick a favorite trip between the two. I only wish I had more time in both places.
I was watching a video yesterday about how people think they have time to go back to places, when in fact they really only have a limited number of times they will ever see something in their lifetime. They might watch only twenty-two more full moon rises in their lifetime before the end. But they take for granted how many they could see, when really it isn’t that many. I don’t know if I will ever get to Ireland or the UK again, but I know I want to go back. There are so many other things I didn’t get to see, and a few things I would love to see again.
These are also things that keep me up at night.
How many more times will you get to spend time with your parents before they are gone? How many times will you get to play ball with your dog? How many times…but we act as though there is no limit, just waiting for the next time, forever. When the reality of it is we have a limited number of days on this planet, in these bodies that wear out, in a chaotic world that could kill us any day.
Tonight I watched a movie, missing someone to watch that movie with. They’ve been gone for a while. I still think about them. I still miss them. Who knew that the last time I saw them…there would be no more times after that? We made plans. Doesn’t that count for something?
No. It really doesn’t. Everybody knows the war is over. Everybody knows the good guys lost.
That’s enough for tonight.