The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of starting a new year and starting a new schedule again and trying to get back into some sort of routine. As much as I love adventure and spontaneity, I function better with a routine. About a month ago, two very important people in my life challenged me to look at how I was treating sleep. I had fallen into a dangerous pattern of white-knuckling through the week and crashing on Friday evenings. Saturdays are precious to me, so I was unnerved and more than a little concerned when I slept from 11pm on a Friday evening through 5pm the next day. I woke up completely disoriented. I felt rested, but it scared me that my body had slept that long and hard without waking up once.
I implemented an evening and morning routine, one that I could maintain even with my odd work schedule. I started going to bed at the same time every night and waking up within the same hour-time-frame every morning. I started turning my phone off an hour before bed, using a minimal amount of light in my room as I prepared to wind down, drinking hot tea, taking a bath, and reading before crawling into bed. This may sound like a luxury to most, but it has made ALL of the difference in the world. I don’t require some 12 hours of sleep on Friday nights like I thought I did. I just needed to look at how I used sleep during the week so that I didn’t get to that point.
Yesterday, my friend and pastor Zach preached an incredible sermon on what it means to be great in the face of challenges that will arise in the coming year. He wisely stated that we will all face something or some things in the coming year that will require more of us than we are prepared to give. Some of these things we see coming – new jobs, moves, natural life transitions. Some of these things we can’t see coming – health issues, death, loss, new relationships. Either way, he challenged me to look at what I need to do, or change, in my self to be prepared for whatever may come my way.
So of course, I woke up today and put my Newsies DVD on. For the past hour or so, I have been singing and dancing around the house and quoting the movie line-f0r-line. Newsies was my first love. I burned through several VHS tapes of it as a child. If you are not familiar with it, Newsies is the Disney produced musical film based on the true story of the New York City news boys who went on strike against Joseph Pulitzer in the 1890’s. It is an exhilarating story with heart-pumping music with a cast led by a young and vibrant Christian Bale.
One of the high energy song-and-dance moments in the movie happens around a song called “Seize the Day” where the news boys sing about taking on something and someone much greater than themselves. They have no fear, and no regard for what people will think of them – a homeless, un-showered mass of hustling street workers.
There are some things I know I will face in the coming year – most immediately standing on a stage next Monday night and talking about sex in front of hundreds of strangers. I am terrified. I am excited. Part of me wants to hide under a rock. Another part of me wants to take that stage in a Jack Kelly-ish fashion and dance my way through it. I am sure there will be many more challenges this year. I want to be ready for them – as ready as possible.
So what do I need in order to be ready to seize any day that comes towards me full force – good, bad or ugly? What do I need in order to be present, awake, aware, and alive? For me, this has started with making sure I am not so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open. I am sure there are other adjustments that will be required along the way. But for now, I am prepared to sing and dance with my vacuum as I tackle the dust and dog hair in my living room. One thing at a time, right?