Guest Post // When Waking Up Is Hard

Denali National Park in autumn, Alaska, USA, North America
Denali National Park in autumn, Alaska, USA, North America

Blinking your eyes into morning, wrapped in blankets with head rested softly on the pillow, is never quite what Disney makes it out to be. Sometimes there are no birds chirping. Sometimes you’re awake before the sun is up. Sometimes life just seems too heavy to lift off your chest so you can actually step into the world. Waking up can be hard sometimes.

I, like many other people, like to evaluate my happiness from time to time. I like to sit down and figure out what is working in my life and what isn’t. Should I make more time for exercise? Should I make more time for myself? The answer to both is yes, but that’s beside the point. My mother, who I am very similar to,  does a similar thing. She evaluates and analyzes, trying to optimize her time, trying to fill her days with things that will make her want to get out of bed in the morning. But that’s a harder task than it seems.

You see, she has this obsession with time. “You only get 24 hours,” she says. You dedicate time to sleep, personal care, food, work, etc. What’s left over? A few hours to spend with family or watch T.V. or read. Maybe. This obsession drives her to try and evaluate her life based off the allowance of time she gets. “If I sleep 7 hours a night and get up at 6 am…” There are so many things you could do with just an hour more, right?

But, of course, waking up at 6 am is hard. Getting out of bed, robbing yourself of a cave of warmth and comfort, and thrusting yourself into productivity is hard. Spending a day working and cleaning and organizing isn’t always the most fun. My mom, who views those activities as more things stealing her time, plans her days around those activities, focusing on the momentous tasks before her, hoping she’ll get enough done to have more free time. Somehow she never does.

The other day, my mom made note of her constant analysis. “You know,” she said, “I was looking through old notebooks and I found a time journal. There was an entry where I wrote down everything I did one day. Some cleaning, answered emails, set up a meeting with a teacher, got groceries. Looking back, I thought that was a pretty productive day, but I bet I felt like I got nothing done.”

Life is often about perspective. My mom felt she got a lot done in that day about eight years later. My mom eight years ago felt she had a lot left. And she probably did. Sometimes you can’t look at the big picture. Setting up small goals and little steps each day promotes productivity. And even when you don’t get everything done, remember what you have accomplished. There is merit in analyzing yourself: evaluating your productivity and your happiness, but don’t let it define how you function.

Waking up can be hard sometimes, but it doesn’t mean the day is hard. Sometimes sleep is just too sweet.

Until next time,