Right now it’s 3 in the morning, and I’ve been up for the past hour and a half. There’s no reason for my being so awake right now: I didn’t do anything crazy this weekend, aside from grocery shopping on Saturday night and a walk with my work buddy S on Sunday afternoon; I didn’t take any medicines that would disrupt my sleep pattern and frankly, I’m freaking tired. But for whatever reason, it’s 3 in the morning on Monday and I can’t fall back asleep. I may be a morning person, but this is clearly a little excessive. I mean, I rarely have insomnia like this. Restless sleep at times, sure, but I love sleeping, and I’m a crab if I haven’t gotten enough. So when things like this happen, I try to pinpoint what’s going on, either internally or externally, that’s clearly keeping my mind running fast away from sleep. That’s not always easy, as it frequently involves admitting a hard truth I’ve been trying to avoid for a period of time, but in this case, I know exactly what’s going on to keep me up.
There’s a tide of change in the air in my life right now, a long-coming shift away from something that hasn’t made me happy in, well, months. My lovely friend M and I were talking a lot about that this weekend, finding your own happiness in life. She made the point that our generation, the slightly-older millennials, aren’t just the self-important assholes the media wants us to be, living unemployed at home until our late twenties, begging our parents to pay our rent until we’ve “found ourselves.” Obviously those people exist, but for the people like M, like me, like most of our friends, we’re the generation that will find a way to work that makes us happy. We’re focused on our own well-being and standing out, making a name for ourselves doing something that no one else does, or at least doing something better than everyone else. Our generation is the one that will work in the corporate grind for however long until we’ve found a way to shape our lives in such a manner that we can wake up every day and not start grumbling immediately that it’s time to go back to the same old, same old.
There’s a comfort in the same old, same old. There’s a beauty in a routine, but an ugliness in doing what you’re “supposed to do,” in staying somewhere or with someone that hasn’t made you happy in months because it’s the “right thing to do.” I’ve gone through so many major changes in the past year, that I don’t even feel like the same person I was going into 2014. I look back on that girl and wonder that she was holding back so much of who I am now for so long, trying desperately to be someone that someone else wanted instead of embracing change and being who she wants to be. I had a moment recently where I was sitting with a decision to make, wrestling with it really, about whether to take a first step in making yet another big change after things finally seemed to be settling down. I went back and forth for a while, saying it was too soon, saying I didn’t even know if it was the right idea, trying to push myself back to enjoying the monotony that a part of my life had become. I finally stopped after two days of back-and-forth and just stared at myself in the mirror. “You’re not happy,” I told the confused girl looking back at me, “and you have the opportunity to do something better. How is this even a choice?”
It’s now 3:30 in the morning and I’m still wide awake. I’m waiting on the calm before the storm, the grace period that always precedes a a major shift in life. Who can say if the storm will be a spring shower or if it’ll mirror the snowpocolypse expected to hit New York this week; who can say if things will work out in such a manner that I look back a month from now and see another new person, one who has a smile on her face because she wants to, not because she’s forced to. There’s a lot of uncertainty going into this week, starting with a random night of insomnia. But I’m not going to concern myself with all of that quite yet. No, for right now, I’m going to shut down my computer, snuggle up with little miss a little closer, and hopefully, finally fall back asleep.