Friday, May 24, 2013

Reflections: The Cost of Choice

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

I am a chronic allergy sufferer, scrambling for tissues and attempting to scratch the inside of my ears from the moment I awaken. So loud is my nose blowing, my youngest daughter covers her ears in her sleep whenever I start. It’s that bad.

To combat this issue, I took two antihistamines on Sunday—one at a time, more than four hours apart, as taking them together renders me useless and lethargic. Nevertheless I was asleep Sunday night by 9:00 p.m.

The real surprise came Monday morning at 3:00 a.m. when I found myself wide awake and full of fun as my Grandmom used to say. I should have gone back to sleep, should have decided it was too early for active consciousness and tried again in a few hours.

But where would be the fun in that?
So I hopped out of bed, started a few loads of laundry, checked my email, settled some issues in Dropbox, and added 800 words to my manuscript. All before dawn. Though excited by my industry, I expected to be asleep that evening well before midnight.

Perhaps I would have been, had I not decided to wash and plait my daughter’s hair at 11:30 p.m. Apparently it could not wait until morning.

I could have called it a day at any point before 2:00 a.m. when I finally gave in, but around the time I put Bop in the tub, I wondered how long I could stay awake. Twenty-four hours? Twenty-six? Thirty?

Twenty-three was my magic number, and as I closed my eyes on my longest day in recent memory, I congratulated myself on a day well-spent.

Until I awakened Tuesday morning at 6:30 a.m. feeling quite unlike myself.

Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.Net
The weariness was beyond physical. My mind was numb, hard-pressed to think and reaming me out for yesterday’s adventure. As of this entry, I’ve yet to recover, staying awake past 11:00 p.m. each night since with no clear reason why.

So what did I learn this week? “Don’t stay awake for 23 hours unless you have to” is one obvious lesson needing no encore.
“When you get an idea for Friday’s ‘Reflections’ post during a week when your mind is on vacation, write it down because otherwise you’ll forget” is another, though I hope I've minimized the damage on that one.

But the greatest lesson is “No decision exists in a vacuum: Everything affects everything else as everyone affects everyone else.”

My decision not to sleep impacted my writing life, my famed to-do lists from last week, and my leisure time as I’ve been too zonked to enjoy it. My decision affected the husband I’m too tired to help, the children with whom I’m too cranky to play, the Fanfiction readers awaiting new chapters I haven’t drafted, and the great-aunt I didn’t call Tuesday because it hurt to speak.

I won't wax poetic about how we are all connected, strangers and friends alike, or try to explain the profound truths of The Butterfly Effect. And based on today's subject, I'm sure you can guess why not.

But as I face my weekend, I can spare the energy to do so “sober-minded” as advised in I Peter 5. Not only because my enemy prowls about, but also to count the cost of my actions, to weigh the ends and means. For I ultimately pay for whatever I order in this life, and some prices are simply too steep.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday morning… at a decent hour.

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