Home > Life, Really? > Sleep is Overrated… Change is Not!

Sleep is Overrated… Change is Not!

Here’s are some tips for all you (fellow) insomniacs out there….

  1. When you can’t sleep, trying turning around in the bed, putting your head where your feet usually are. It may not help your slumber but it sure makes not sleeping a lot more fun!
  2. Don’t get up and read emails from old schoolmates who make you think deeply about the mysteries of life. If you should happen to fall asleep, it’ll make for interesting dreams, but more likely, you’ll lie awake searching for answers.

sure1As the result of my blog, I have reconnected with an old high school friend. We didn’t know each other well back then, but through our recent discussions we are finding that we’ve ended up at similar places coming from different directions. In other words, in a very short time I’ve found a kindred spirit. We’ve discussed relationships, tragedy, spirituality… the things you usually don’t talk about with someone right out of the gate. But thanks to 21st century technology, we are able to peel back the tough exteriors we’ve developed over 25 years and have these discussions without really knowing what the other looks like now, yet with the relative assurance that the other is probably not a serial stalker. I said “relative”…

When I was growing up, my father was a minister and would often counsel parishioners at our house. Imagine the temptation of seeing your friends’ parents arrive for marriage counseling and not be able to tell them! (I got pretty good at keeping secrets — especially my own.) Though that knowledge weighed heavily at the time, I now deeply respect those people for recognizing the catharsis of pouring out your secrets and fears to another. It’s a big step to take.

We graduated from high school in 1982, my friend and I, which puts us squarely in the middle of middle age. We have become the parents we talk about having had, adults in all their imperfection, and we are learning a new appreciation for the difficulty of raising children when you yourself haven’t really come to grips with what it is you think they need to know or be. It’s a time when we either decide to cling to the past that vexes us or break the chains and free ourselves to become the people we always imagined we could be someday.

We got talking last night about the ways we believe we’ve been expected to be in our culture, how deeply ingrained our perceived roles are, yet as we reach this point in our lives, we are itching to change, to break out of the patterns we’ve established for ourselves. I’d call it “fresh start-itis”. No wonder so many marriages split up at this point. Couples will cite their inability to grow within the relationship, blaming the other for not letting them change when the reality is: We won’t allow ourselves to grow and change.

My parents’ marriage was the second for both. Close to middle age, they understood that marriage was not the youthful fantasy of endless romance and bliss. In their case, bringing together two families for a combined total of eight children was a business proposition — “I’ll take yours if you’ll take mine”, or something along those lines. Any growing and changing of their own would have to be done for the sake of the whole, not for themselves.

Maybe that’s where things have gotten off track. We’ve become so self-focused, so concerned with our own happiness that we have lost sight of our “role in the whole”. We don’t know where we fit and that can be excruciating. No matter where we are, we think we’re supposed to be somewhere else.

So, my old friend and I are trying to figure all this out. What if our assumptions about ourselves were inaccurate? What if the mistakes we continue to punish ourselves for were long ago forgiven and we don’t even know it? Middle age is a time of reckoning. For some it will be a time of radical change, but for most of us, if we are courageous enough we will sit still right where we are and take off the blinders that have kept us “safe” for so long and begin to see ourselves and others in a whole new way. With all the chaos in the world right now, we must learn to see things differently in order to heal ourselves and bring new vision.

Thought for today: Give yourself permission to change and you will free others to do the same.

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Categories: Life, Really?
  1. Tina
    August 13, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Hey EF – I think I needed this one today. I like the “our role in the whole”…I’m glad we’re neighbors and I’m glad you share. Peace friend…

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