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E is for Everything
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The Sandman's a late-night fan
Yeah,
(Yeah, the Sandman loves you too, Stephen. I, however, need to get some sleep.) 
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Sleep and I don’t run in the same circles. When we do run into one another, we enter into a pretty fierce staring contest. It's not exactly productive.

It turns out I’m not the only one struggling with this particular aspect of life, because, fun fact: sleep eludes a lot of women. I'll see the men in my life fall asleep at the drop of a hat, and a not-so-small amount of envy courses through my veins.

Where they find peaceful slumber, I find tossing, turning and nightmares, until I'm finally bone tired and my mind goes completely blank. Shortly thereafter, my alarm goes off. In all seriousness, my best “hour" of sleep is the 30 mins. before that alarm.  

Needless to say, the whole situation is more than mildly annoying. 

My house is a temple to lavender, decaffeinated teas and a growing collection of physical books (to avoid the blue light of my phone). I’ve tried nearly every single one of these remedies. Nevertheless, the day often ends with me scouring my phone (so much for those books) for headlines to help me answer big, scary questions. These questions are like the roadrunner to my mind’s Wile E. Coyote.   
My
Am I on the right career track; am I even on a career track. &#@!, am I failing as a career woman!? In a rational moment, I know I’m fine. I’ve become much more pragmatic about the whole affair of working and far less idealistic, which is to be expected at my age, apparently. The fact of the matter is work fills far fewer of my emotional needs than it once did, which, given my past, is a healthy turn of events. Regardless, cue the self-doubt machine, which can keep my mind spinning for a few hours.  

Am I getting too old to consider a family? I know, we’ve been over this. It’s not an absurd question, but it is also an absurd question. It’s not an absurd question because pregnancy becomes a riskier endeavor as a woman gets older, and America really stinks at maternal health relative to the rest of the so-called developed world. Then there’s Iceland’s genetic testing. Goodness… On the other hand, the question about family is absurd, because it’s all about chance and circumstance. There are so many variables and personal preferences at play when it comes to starting a family, who knows what might happen? Life has a funny way of changing when you least expect it, and Jibbers hates you when he gives you what you want. That absence of certainty is catnip for my insomnia, however, leading my mind to grind away like the crossed chain on a race bike. (Yes, this is a link to a Triathlon forum. No, I am not training for a triathlon, though the aches and pains would give my mind something far more meaningful to focus on.)  

What about my finances? Am I saving enough to live well when I’m 90 ... and probably alone because I don’t have kids? There’s more to life than your credit score, but is there more to your relationship than your credit score? It turns out the credit score is taking on a much more prominent role in modern relationship calculus than it once did. Soon, you won’t only be able to select your prospective mate by race, religion and a whole host of other things that, in polite company, would be considered gauche. You’ll soon be able to swipe right or left on a number. Then, once you’ve found that match made in credit heaven, you may enter into the “transactional marriage” you always dreamed about.

But wait, forget about all of that — am I even safe in my own body?!?! 
Aaaaand with that, my mind has melted down completely, and I’m hunting down a late-night show to watch. Apparently, the Sandman is really into Stephen Colbert, because he won’t let me catch a nap until I turn it on. Jibbers forbid there are no new episodes.  

Here’s the problem: my devices crept back into my life like vermin when you forget to take out the trash, and, in my case, the trash is piling up to the ceiling. My meditation practice has slipped, I watch more movies than I used to and I don’t do my language practice as much as I should. My Spanish has gone from elementary to nonexistent. Instead, my devices fill the few remaining hours between work and sleep, and a careless search for “interesting” tidbits merely exacerbates my discomfort with the unknown.  

Some might recommend a workout. The fact is my body is exhausted from multiple 20 min. bike rides per day and a 60 or 90 minute workout five days a week, but my mind is like an under-exercised border collie. It warms up at work, and then all I have left for it to do is run around my tiny apartment late into the night. That means, when I wake up, it’s exhausted and a little sad, because furniture aren’t sheep.  

I committed to spend this weekend with myself — no parties, no brunches, no hanging out with folks — so I could try to take out the trash. That means meditating, but I’m worried about what I might find when I do.

Meditation isn’t always ‘om’s and scented candles (neither of which are necessary, by the way). Sometimes it surfaces really tough stuff that you just need to breathe through (or gasp like a fish out of water, if you’re me). The thing about meditation, though, is you don’t do it for yourself; you do it for the other people in your life. So, tomorrow, I’ll get to it. I won’t like it, but I’ll do it. Hopefully, if I do, the Sandman will settle for learning about the amygdala and give up his insatiable urge for late night jokes. 
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Love.
Emi Kolawole · E is for Everything HQ · Palo Alto California 94306 · USA
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