I recently found myself with a ton of things on my to-do list, with no time to do them in. Preparing for overnight guests, planning for upcoming book events, and plotting out articles, press releases, and interviews, I found myself a bit overwhelmed. Not like, "I'm going to lose it" overwhelmed, just adequately pressed for time. I was feeling a real squeeze a couple of nights ago, when I did a once-over of my list, only to find about a dozen things that needed to be completed. And I wanted to tackle every single one of them that night!
I probably could have to, if I'd stayed up until 2am, working myself to the bone. But 2am isn't even an option for me anymore - truthfully, it's not even tempting. I know where a night like that would leave me...and it wouldn't be good. No, 2am isn't enticing...but 12am is. And that's too late for me, too. If Deirdre gets up before 8am, that's not enough sleep for me. I need 9 hours for sure, 10 on a good day.
But that list! Oh, how I wanted to knock a ton of those things off the list. And I had that adrenaline rush going, too. I wasn't too pepped up to sleep - but I was feeling very productive, and knew that I could stay up until midnight and get a lot done. But here's the question I have to ask myself: do I stay up late, get a ton of stuff accomplished so that I feel better about myself, only to feel worse the next day, and maybe even the next?
I have to look long and hard at the list of "things" (because in reality, they really are just things), and "pick my poison" - stay up late and pay for it, or turn in early and feel slighted about skipping out on my stuff. It's a choice - and one that I have to make almost every single day.
So the night in question, what did I do? I went to bed like a good little lupite - realizing that all of those pressing things weren't so pressing after all. You know how many of them were "due" the following day? One. Just one. I was getting myself in a tizzy, thinking everything had to be done now, and turns out, only one had a deadline of the next day. Glad I did a little prioritizing.
Now, because I talk about the importance of honesty in my book, Despite Lupus, I owe it to you (and myself) to be perfectly honest...not about that night, but about two nights later.
I got to looking at that list again, and started getting into my "doer" mode, and somehow, wound up crawling into bed at 11:45pm. Bad, I know. But here's what makes it worse - we'd been out late the night before at a concert (having the time of our lives, mind you), so I was already in a bit of a sleep deficit (NOTE: you can indulge every once in awhile...but you gotta pay up sometime.) And even though Deirdre had slept in the next morning (letting me catch up a little), she cried through most of her nap that next day - so I definitely didn't get a full afternoon nap. So did I need to get to bed early that night? You bet. No question about it - I should have been under the covers, lights out by 10pm. But that didn't happen. I guess I was just so pleased with myself for foregoing the to-do's a few nights back, I felt like I deserved to be able to stay up and tackle them.
And while I didn't end up in too bad of shape the next morning- I can't lie and say I was ache-free. I woke up with a pain in my elbow. Not throbbing, not swollen...but painful. It went away by the end of the day (after a very good afternoon nap which I did not skimp on), but it was a good reminder that every day counts. Every day, there's a choice to be made. And every day, I need to make it a good one.