There are some mornings where I wake up more tired than I went to sleep. Are we supposed to talk about that? I’m not sure because few people, if any do. By the time we all see each other in the real world, we’re shiny, happy, and full of energy…or at least that’s how it appears.
I’m not saying it’s every day, but it definitely happens. I haven’t even done anything and already my entire being is ready to tap out. I’m not sore or physically spent, but my brain sends messages to my heart and soul that, yeah, we’re just not feeling it today.
I’ll lay there for a second and try to focus on what needs to be done but, in some cases, the remaining memories from the intense dream that haunted me all night rattles around my head. I think about that thing that happened and how real it felt. It ruined my day before it even started. It was unforgettable.
Then, within five minutes, I’ve forgotten it.
Unfortunately, the emotions it stirred up are still there. I’m on edge before I even put a foot on the floor. Luckily, my phone is handy so I can scroll through social media and read angry exchanges about politics and social issues right off the bat. I’m reminded that the heaviness of the world isn’t confined to my R.E.M. sleep. It’s sitting on the other side of a phone screen and it’s far from a dream.
I can’t just lay in bed all day. I have kids and responsibilities. That said, even if I didn’t, I still can’t stay in bed all day. I want to though and, in another lifetime, I am. There are plenty of timelines in plenty of universes where I go, “screw this” and roll back over for another 24 hours. This, however, is not one of them. There are kids to feed, buses to catch, and things to do. So many things to do.
It’s not the doing things, however, that presents difficulties. I can easily go on autopilot and move my way through the obligations before me. It’s the caring that often hits the hardest. The emotional toll is what costs the most and it’s a toll we all pay. Some days, though, I have more change to toss in its till than others.
On mornings like this, I might have less than a dime while on others I have stacks of cash. I miss the days when I can make it rain on the emotional toll booth collector. Those are the times when I can roll up and start fanning out bills like they’re nothing. Every issue that springs up, gets a crisp hundo dropped at its feet.
Problems at home – Bam. Paid.
Problems with work and career – Bam. Paid.
Problems in general without any explanation – Bam. Paid.
Holla. Lets hit the club.
Then there are mornings where it takes next to nothing to knock me into emotional bankruptcy. One issue, word, or betrayal leaves me standing there; a figurative oak barrel strapped to my body with makeshift suspenders. If I had emotional trousers on, the pockets would be turned inside out like a comic strip hobo to show the world that I was all out of damns to give.
And, as I’ve learned, the world wouldn’t give any damns either.
On days like that, I search for moments to pick me up. Maybe it’s a television show with my daughter or a hug from my son. Maybe it’s a song that evokes a visceral reaction and sends me shadow boxing the ghosts in my head. Maybe it’s the hope for a day that isn’t here yet, but is just around the corner. Or, maybe a few corners away, but in the neighborhood. OK, maybe not the neighborhood but still on the roadmap. Definitely on the roadmap.
Like Sonic with rings or Mario with mushrooms, I try to find whatever I can to refill my energy meter and send me along my brick-breaking way. It’s these days where I appreciate the little things more and grab onto them for all the power they can offer.
I also try to remember that these days don’t last forever. Sure, some might be strung together in a row or have no reason at all to bring me down, but they eventually subside. The dawn comes out eventually and, as we all learned from The Crow, it can’t rain all the time.
It’s a truthful statement and I know it to be so because I’ve lived long enough to see the sun rise on many a dark morning. There’s always hope and there’s always happiness. The trick is to remember that fact during times of despair and sadness. It’s the balance that keeps you going.
That’s what keeps me going on days like that. It’s how I make it from morning to night and, when I eventually return to my bed, I remind myself that tomorrow is another day and there’s always a chance it will be my best one yet.