Another week passed with very little in the way of down time. Week after week, month after month, this seems to have become the standard operating procedure for my life. I feel as if life is a mad dash, a madcap race, a pell-mell pace, always moving. As I hit the pillow every night, late, exhausted, I look at the clock, do quick math, realize that once again I will be getting too little sleep. Every morning when I wake, groggy, fuzz-brained, still tired, I promise myself that tonight I will get to bed early. It never happens. Even on the nights when I find myself sitting for a few minutes with one cat draped over my shoulder and purring in my ear, and another sprawled across my lap, with sleep just a head nod away, I will get a surge of energy that must be expended. So once again, I will find myself crawling to bed too late to get my allotted 8 hours of sleep. Day after day, night after night, charging ahead at full speed until I drop.
I fantasize about having a week or two off from work, and being able to sleep as much as I want. Sleep all day if I want. But I know that even if I had the time off I would likely not catch up on my sleep. Why? Why do I push myself at such a breakneck pace? I ask myself this, and there is no easy answer. I do wonder, especially at this time of year, if I race forward to keep myself clear of the abyss. My Abyss. I know it is there. I feel it. It never truly leaves, but currently it is just a tenuous feeling, a wisp of cold vapor, a gloom barely hinted at in my peripheral vision. Do I keep moving forward so diligently so that I can maintain the distance that I have fought so hard to obtain? Fear of backsliding the whip that lashes my back? Every winter for what seems like an eternity I have visited My Abyss, and on a few rare occasions I have even made a mid summer jaunt to the edge. Every winter, like being forced to go visit a despised relative for a prolonged stay. I have become quite adept at minimizing the impact of these trips, through rigorous preparation, diligent nutrition, vigorous physical activity. I feel as if I am in arduous, daily training for an endurance race. Point of fact, that is not far from the truth. I realize how often I rely on physical and mental toughness to get me through tough spots, rough patches, over the hump, past the wall, another mile.
The dilemma is the double edge of my management system. I workout hard, work hard, push myself, stay fit, maintain Body, protect Brain, keep plunging ahead, work myself to exhaustion. This is good, it gives me little time to fret. The downside; lack of sleep, exhaustion plays right into the hands of The Abyss. Fatigue makes me susceptible and potentially overemotional. I become too reactive, and lose my ability to be proactive and logical. It is a delicate balance, my desire to push myself harder and faster, and my need to rest. I am far better at pushing myself than I am at taking down time, relaxing, resting. I always feel the need to be moving, doing, accomplishing. There is so much to do and so little time, and I do not want to disappoint myself.
So where do I go from here? Rushing headlong through life, chasing my dreams, ignoring The Abyss that soughs my name with chill breath, moving ahead, pushing, always pushing. Am I running away from, or towards, life, sanity, reason, dreams? I like to think I am moving forward. And at the very least, I know I am moving, not stagnant, not inert, not running in circles. I have come far from where I was, but have further to go. So I keep moving. Always moving.