I can’t sleep.
This isn’t a unique thing, to be honest. Most nights I can’t get myself to stay still long enough to fall asleep, at least until the clock strikes three or four in the morning.
People tell me that they know why this is. It’s simple – I don’t wake up until some various time after morning has gone and afternoon has arrived. I sleep late, and thus can’t get to sleep until late. But I can’t believe this – Even on those (not too rare) days that I don’t sleep at all, I can’t fall asleep until some time past midnight.
Am I just a night owl? The ultimate night owl?
Undoubtedly, but I’ve come to the conclusion that this isn’t the only reason behind my chronic inability to sleep at a normal human time.
My discovery comes from, interestingly enough, my recent camping / rock climbing trips. Those nights where I drive up North, set up my tent, and sleep out under the stars. There, I can fall asleep far earlier, and without any traces of the tossing that I run into in Boston.
It’s the lack of stress… but also the inability for me to work.
You see, I’m unemployed… and being unemployed is, in itself, a form of employment. It doesn’t pay, but it is a job – every day I make my way through a pile of possible jobs, select the few that fit me, and then craft application letters for them. I work… even if this work is simply looking for work.
And when I’m home… I can’t stop working. I don’t want to give up – going to sleep is simply giving up for the day, and choosing not to put in any more effort. I hate that. I hate giving up.
In school I always fought with myself about how much to study. I would, for almost all of my finals, intentionally disrupt my sleep schedule so that I would stay awake until I couldn’t think straight, and then I’d sleep for 10+ hours at a time. I called it my “36-hour life”, and it worked perfectly for me because I knew that it was only for a short time, and that I was doing everything that I could to prep for my tests.
But here, now? Am I doing everything that I can? No. No, I spend time relaxing. I spend time writing, and I spend time playing video games. They’re all necessary for me to maintain my sanity, but in those quiet moments before I fall asleep? I know that I could be working harder. And that I could be working right now.
And thus, I stay awake.
My brain reminds me of the things that I could be doing, and my heart speeds up a bit. I remember stories about other people’s successes, about business owners and entrepreneurs and about how they forged empires for themselves, and adrenaline courses through my veins.
I try to ignore it, but it’s impossible. It’s like seeing a bear charging down on you, and choosing to cook s’mores instead.
And so I turn on my light, turn the computer back on, and go back to work.
I apologize that this isn’t really a “normal” post – usually I only talk about actual adventures that I’ve been on, and trips I’ve taken with my friends. This bridges the gap between “uninteresting personal life” and “an adventure unique to being unemployed”. Also – I can’t sleep again tonight.