I rolled into my house sometime late in the evening last night to get some rest. As usual, it took me three or four times longer than I anticipated to get ready for bed. No matter how tired I am and no matter how many or few distractions there are, it always somehow seems to take so much longer to get ready for bed.
I climbed under the covers, telling my Siri command to "wake me up in three hours." It responded, "your alarm is now set for three-thirty A.M."
I didn't really realize how ridiculous this schedule was until I heard the words come out of the i-phone. But I dozed off before I could dwell on it for too long.
I woke up before the alarm ever sounded. About an hour earlier than I had anticipated. And it was the kind of waking up that I knew was going to be long-lasting. I wouldn't fall asleep again. Not for a while, anyway. Too much running through my mind. Too much anxiety.
So I capitalized on the misfortune, pulling on some decent clothes, and heading back to my downtown office.
The streets are quiet at that time. I saw a car or two on my eight-minute drive. I wondered why they were out so late. Or early. I wondered if they wondered why I was out so late or early. I wondered why I was out so late or early.
And before I could finish wondering, I wandered into the building. Took the elevator up the tower to my quiet and dark floor. My office was still the disaster I left it in when I finally escaped a few hours before. There were stacks of files scattered about, and one piece of paper almost comically resting on top of a small plant that had been moved from a table and onto the floor to make extra room for my horizontal organization problems.
I started working. From my windows I could see that the quiet lights of Salt Lake City shone far below. Everyone out there--all of those people across the valley--they were asleep, just like I should have been. Except some of them weren't. Some of them were feeding their baby every two hours. Some of them were up sick with worry because someone didn't come home last night. Some of them were getting ready for or getting home from work, just like they do at that time every day, and not every once in a while like those of us who have the luxury of a typically-nine-to-five. But the rest of those people, they were asleep, ignorant to the problems of the insomniacs-by-necessity.
It was a waste of time to think about that. I got up early so I could work, not so I could wonder about the quiet lights and sleeping folks. I got up early so I could get something done. A deadline that crept up. A challenge that needed addressing. A reputation to prove.
I was a typical young lawyer in that moment, for better or worse. I was a version of myself I haven't seen much since law school, when work/life balance was not a term with which I was familiar. But above all else, I was tired.
I worked until I saw light from the sun make downtown Salt Lake City twinkle and glow. And I kept working, on and on throughout the day, until the deadline came and the moment of reckoning passed. And then I took the elevator back down the tower and into the parking garage.
I climbed into my car and contemplated taking a nap there, because that felt easier than traversing through the eight-minute commute. But the desire for the comforts of my own bed and home won out, and I drove on, listening to Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer" on repeat, two and one-half times before I pulled into my long and narrow driveway.
I stepped inside. I wasn't sad or happy. I wasn't satisfied or dissatisfied. I was just tired.
~It Just Gets Stranger