Last weekend I went backpacking in the Emigrant Wilderness where I became acutely aware of how opposed to rest I have been lately.
On Thursday at 5PM the lake pictured below changed from a peaceful reflection pool to something reminiscent of a horror movie as swarms of mosquitoes descended. Our entire group hopped into our tents, the only protection from their bites.
Without technology to distract me, I lay there counting the mosquitoes on the ceiling. I got up to 100 before I fell asleep, not to awake for four hours.
I’m not much of a napper. I’ve probably taken a dozen in my adult life and my mom might defend that I only took slightly more as a child. Nonetheless I crashed for a few hours in the evening without trouble. Why could I sleep so easy?
I certainly have an excuse to be tired. Lately I’ve been doing a lot. I work at a rapidly growing tech company, I’m father to a three month old baby and I’m training for an Ironman. Heck, that day I’d hiked seven miles with a 40lb pack on my back. But before I got into the tent I didn’t feel particularly tired.
I’m realizing now that I was in one of those states where I was tired enough to fall asleep if there was nothing interesting to do, but had enough energy to press on if there were. Unfortunately I fear that I’m in that state quite often. I don’t think I am alone here either.
Too often I ignore that state. I take advantage of open hours by committing to more. I take on more at work. I embark on personal challenges. I pick up new hobbies or interests and start enveloping myself in the culture. I fill things to the calculable maximum. It is rare that I intentionally leave open space in my schedule.
Not once in the last few years have I reflected on an open night on my calendar and thought, “that will be a good night to sit quietly and do nothing.”
There are many good things about being a driven person. But perhaps I need more rest in my life.
More open space in my calendar. More time with no screen in front of me. More time to sit quietly and fall asleep if I’m tired enough.
I woke up at 6:00 the next morning, got a fire going for the others and enjoyed the sun rising over the granite mountains & distant pine trees. I want more mornings like that.