I once asked my dad how often he slept a full eight hours through the night. He sarcastically responded, “I haven’t slept through the night since I became an adult. It’s one of the less celebrated rites of passage, you know?”
My eyes stir awake. I’m tangled up in a mess of down blankets in the middle of the bed, sprawled out like a starfish. I glance at the clock: 4:22 AM. Forget midnight; this is The Witching Hour. Classic.
I arch my back and reposition myself amidst the cloud of white pillows, preparing for my nightly ritual always occuring sometime between 4 and 4:45 AM, where I am stirred from sleep – reality interrupting a swirl of anxious dreams made up of missed flight connections, sleeping through the SATs and trying to out run armed robbers – and left in the darkest early morning hours to contemplate every choice I’ve ever made. Wrapped up in anxiety over the state of my love life, my friendships, my finances, my well being…
I think my dad may have been right about this whole not-sleeping-through-the-night-come-adulthood thing. Without a xanax or an overdose of Z-Quil, uninterrupted sleep has seemed to be an impossible feat over the past five or so years. And while I know all my problems appear catastrophically larger than life as they perform this brilliant dance through my mind long before sunrise, I still feel myself sinking lonely into my mattress wondering what the point of it all is. What’s the purpose of my particular life? I’m in the in-between, where at 28 years of age I am still so selfish. So far from wanting to be tied down by marriage – since I haven’t met anyone quite yet I could see myself building a foundation with – yet so far from being young and wild and carefree, wishing only to pick up and move to San Francisco. To build anew.
How can I simultaenously experience pangs of excitement for the future as I pass baby carriages on the street and still be royally freaked out at the idea of being tied down to another human being? Scared, at the same time intrigued, at the idea of placing the needs of another over my own forever one day? Will it happen in two years or ten years? Will my thirties fly by? Will I wake up at forty, 4:22 AM, still alone? Still in this loft? Still selfish? What’s the purpose? What will I leave behind as my memory? What do I want to be remembered for? Are marital vows and procreation simply seen as the next step or will I truly want it when it arrives? Will I even know what true love looks like when it finds me? Will I pass it by? Have I already? Am I even designed to meet and be molded as a match to another human being? If so, where in the hell are they hiding?
I’m only able to calm myself back to sleep by forcefully reminding my heart and mind that a life spent sitting around – or lying around, in this case – wondering when someone else is going to come make all these countless days and nights seem more worthwhile..well, that’s a wasted one. Maybe this all hasn’t shaken out the way I thought it would. Maybe I thought I’d be married and pregnant at 28 if you asked me ten years ago. I’m not. Maybe I thought I’d be a manager at my old job that I was forced to leave if you asked me two years ago. I’m not.
Then again, I wouldn’t have thought my grandparents would still be alive and kicking for this long. That my brother and I would have formed such a close bond. That my college roommate would still be my soul sister, ten years running.
Life is what it is. I’m responsible for making the purpose of it worthwhile; not because I want to upscale the neighbors or pass the test and move on to the next portion. Its purpose comes in living. To live like you were dying, honestly – sorry to have to quote Tim McGraw. The purpose is to create good vibes, good energy, good ways to better sleep through the night. Nothing good gets away. So, just keep trying to be good and good things will likely come – although, we must be able to recognize that they exist amongst all the bull shit that gets thrown at us. God, let me never lose sight of that sweet silver lining. Because the silver lining…that’s the purpose of life. That’s all that matters come the end of the day.
And now, its 5:18 AM and I’ll drift on back to sleep. I feel a little lighter than I did fifty six minutes ago. I’ve got a little more purpose now, I think. I hope.