Saturday, July 11, 2009

Powering Down

Last night, I did something revolutionary. With the help of a long-distance friend, I shut my computer down at 10:30 p.m. I know, I know, it's a little extreme. Let me explain:

On any given weekday night, after 8 hours at work in front of a computer, I come home, eat, get online and don't get off until approximately 12:40 a.m. (I'm not mindlessly surfing. I'm getting things done, really important necessary things that absolutely can't wait.) If it's a Friday or Saturday, chances are I power down even later than that.

Here's what I manage to get done once the laptop is put to sleep:

  • Floss and brush teeth, wash face, worry about the-barely-noticeable-to-anyone-else-but-totally-noticeable-to-me discoloration of my teeth.

  • Remember, in an overwhelming wave of anxiety all the other things I was supposed to do before bed (put clothes in the dryer, wash dishes, put together snacks for next day, do prescribed stretches and exercises, call my friend who lives in Chatham who I haven't talked to in weeks, relax, read, etc).

  • Actually do all these things at 1 o'clock in the morning (except relax and read), all the while berating myself for it (i.e., "I can't believe I did it AGAIN!"

  • Get under the covers carrying a small knot in my stomach for how tired I know I'm going to be the next day and how much better I'd probably feel—physically and otherwise—if I could manage to be more balanced in my approach to life.

Here's what I managed to get done last night from 10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.:

  • Floss and brush teeth, wash face, worry about the-barely-noticeable-to-anyone-else-but-totally-noticeable-to-me discoloration of my teeth.

  • Realize in an in an overwhelming wave of relief all the things I was now going to be able to do before bed (wash dishes, trim and file my nails, do prescribed stretches and exercises, text my friend who helped me shut down the laptop to say thank you, read a little).

  • Get under the covers with a sense that everything was right in the world, or at least my world, and tell myself: remember this, remember how this feels.

I woke up at 8:30 a.m. refreshed, clear, and unencumbered by thoughts of how I wish I'd done it differently the night before. It may not sound like a big deal. But I've been wanting to do that for probably close to three years. This is the habit I've had, one I have not known how to break, until my friend said, "Text me at 10:30 p.m. and tell me you're off."

I'm now at my computer—which I feel happy to see by the way—cup of decaf next to the keyboard. Will finish up some online tasks and then head out the door for a hip-hop class. Good start to the weekend I'd say.


judy said...

Love this post! It's my life, too! Think I'll try the relief, rather than the knot, path tonight.

Valerie said...

omg, yes. totally. so well put and, yes. it's 9:59. i'm going to try and take your cue. ready? set? in 30 minutes we will be off!

Elizabeth Patch said...

Laura, I am a member of SheWrites and know how hard you are working on managing that fabulous new forum. IN complte empathy/sympathy with you. Husband & boys off fishing and I spent the entire day (yes, from morning until evening! on a beautiful summer Saturday!) now after reading your post I will force myself to

Abby said...

i need to try this. trying to get up at a decent hour after staying up half the night doing who knows what wouldn't have to be such a worry if i shut the computer down early!