Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stained Glass and Coffee: What to Do When It's 3 A.M. and You Can't Sleep

It's 3:30 a.m. and I can't sleep. I've been laying in bed awake for an hour, and while I know I'm exhausted because it's the end of a school year, my mind just won't shut down. We've all been there before. When I was a kid, it was the Tetris dream. You know the one. You have a game of Tetris playing in your head, and you have all of the pieces perfectly stacked. Then you get nothing but random zig-zag pieces that don't fit and you wake up in a cold sweat. Please tell me that I'm not the only one who has had these Tetris dreams before.

Is this random? Yes it is. Remember the part where I said that it is 3:30 a.m.?

I'm not having random Tetris dreams now. I have school schedules running through my head. And kids birthday parties. And gardening and house projects and date nights and banking. So while my body is tired and in need of sleep, my mind is like a three year old at a birthday party. It just won't stop.

Today is not the first day like this. Last week I woke up in the middle of the night several nights in a row. I read for a bit, but that didn't bring on drowsiness. I checked my social media feeds, glanced at email, read a little more, but I just kept tossing and turning. I finally gave up trying to fall asleep and headed to the garage to work on a stained glass project (full post on that coming soon). I spent some time cutting and grinding glass, edging it, and soldering. I was probably in the garage for about two hours working, and the next thing I knew, it was morning. I had lost almost half of a night's sleep. 

But I discovered something. That day, I was not any more tired than I am any other day. My brain had a difficult time understanding this, because usually, when I am awake for half of the night, I drag through the next day. But it wasn't that way last week. Why?

Unfortunately I don't have an answer. All I have is speculation, hypothesis, and the amazing ability that I have developed to pull stuff out of my backside and make it sound legit. Maybe my brain was so wound up and heading in so many directions that it needed a singular focus. Maybe the end of the school year pulls me in so many directions that I need to have a focused task that reboots my brain. And maybe this rebooting is enough to get me through the next day.

Unfortunately I don't think that 3 a.m. is the proper time to turn on the power tools, so I will be somewhat limited in the projects and tasks that I can work on when my brain needs a rebooting. My wife is a regular visitor to 3 a.m., and for her, that time is a time to write without distraction. So whether it's stained glass, writing fiction, drawing, or writing a blog post, I embrace 3 a.m.

Some people may have read this entire article with a single burning question that they couldn't shake: if the whole point is that you spend the time in the middle of the night doing stained glass to reboot your brain, why are you blogging?

Excellent question. The answer: I ran out of copper banding, and unfortunately there are no hobby stores open in the middle of the night.

If only there were Amazon RightNow!

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