To say I have a really screwed up work schedule is putting it mildly. Part of the week I work swing shift, and then, to make life interesting, I switch over to day shift. That means that there’s one day where I only get about 5 hours of sleep between shifts. Needless to say, by the time I get off work after that quick turnaround, I’m completely worthless. All I want to do is lie around and gaze stupidly at the ceiling.
I’ve had this schedule for 3 ½ years, and I’ve learned a great deal from it. First of all, it’s best if I don’t make any major purchases on exhausto-day. More often than not, I’ll regret them. I also shouldn’t get into Facebook debates. They will only end in tears. (For someone.)
The blog posts I write on that day tend to have a little less meat on the bone, too. And it’s not a good day to reflect upon my past, present, or future, but that’s a challenge since I am a navel-gazer by nature. And if you tell me something important during that time frame, make sure I write it down, or I guarantee I’ll forget.
I’ve also learned that sleep is a luxury that one should never fail to take advantage of. I have no set sleep schedule. Some nights I’m up until 3 am, while other nights I’m already snoring at 6 pm. The most important thing is that when my body says it’s time to sleep, I need to listen.
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that my quality control fluctuates from one day to the next. Exhausto-Barb is not nearly as efficient and level-headed as the Barb one encounters during the rest of the week. And that’s understandable. Once I finally stopped beating myself up for this ebb and flow, life became a great deal more tolerable.
One nice thing about my schedule is that my “weekends” (which don’t coincide with the rest of the planet’s, of course,) are 72 hours long. That almost makes the exhaustion worth it. Almost.
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Sometimes I can’t think of a thing to blog about. Today was one of those days. I was getting rather desperate, so I consulted the Random Word Generator. Perhaps it would inspire me to break through this blockage.
The first word it gave me was “lip”. No. I’m sorry. Maybe this was a bad idea. What on earth could I do with the word lip? Nothing. That’s what.
I kind of got irritated. Curse you, Random Word Generator! You were supposed to save me! But I’m not one to give up. (Especially when I can’t think of anything else to do.)
I noticed that the generator allows one to choose the number of words that get generated at a time. What would be good? Three, I decided. And this was what I got:
unfortunate memory cancer
Okay, granted, that’s a bit bleak, but really, when you think about it, it ought to be a thing. Because who among us doesn’t have memories that they wish they could forget? The sound of Trump’s voice springs to mind.
I, for one, wouldn’t mind erasing some of my past relationships, from beginning to end. I’d also like to apply chemotherapy to some of the idiotic choices I’ve made in the past. And those bell bottoms that I wore in the 70’s? Blot them out of existence. Please. I’m begging you.
True confession: I’ve been getting more forgetful lately, and it’s scaring me half to death. But on second thought, it might have its advantages. Who knows what unfortunate memory cancers I’ve already been cured of?
I keep a notepad beside my bed. Often, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with a blog idea or a brilliant realization, and I know I’ll forget it by the time the alarm goes off in the morning if I don’t write it down. I know this because it happens all the freakin’ time.
Just as with a brief period of bed wetting as a very small child, the inner dialogue goes something like this: “I really should wake up and… oh, screw it. I’m too tired.” I always regret that decision. There’s nothing worse than that feeling that there’s something amazing rattling around in my head that I just can’t seem to access.
Those moments of clarity, inspiration, and/or brilliance are so rare, at least for me, that they shouldn’t be squandered. How many epiphanies have I lost to sleep? For all I know, I’ve cured cancer or come up with a strategy for peace on earth, or plotted out a Pulitzer prize-winning book. But nooooo…
It kind of makes you wonder what the world would be like if all of us kept notepads beside our beds and actually used them consistently.
When I was young and I’d hear an older person say they were getting old and forgetful, I used to smile and say I couldn’t wait to have that excuse for my absentmindedness. I’ve always been easily distracted. Flaky, even.
But now I’m starting to get it. As I age, it’s getting much, much worse. And that’s terrifying. It is no fun, no fun at all, to know you can no longer rely on your own brain. Especially when you live alone.
Today I accidentally left my to-do list at home, and I’m a bit freaked out. I’m fairly certain that I’m forgetting to do something that’s time-sensitive and important, but for the life of me, I can’t recall what it is. That’s a helpless feeling. I don’t like it. That’s why I created the to-do list in the first place.
And I’m starting to forget words. I know what I want to say conceptually. It’s on the tip of my tongue. I just can’t always verbalize it. “Please pass me the… the… you know. That thing.”
Do you have any idea how scary it is for a writer not to be able to come up with a word? And since I’m not currently in a nice comfortable relationship where the other person can finish my sentences for me, odds are that the person I’m talking to doesn’t know what thing I’m referring to.
The older I get, the more I feel like I’m traveling in a land where I don’t speak the language and I don’t have a map or an itinerary. And while I do love to travel, I love to be able to communicate even more. This is a confusing place. I’d like to go home now.
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If you’ve been in a long-term relationship, you’re probably well-versed in your partner’s stories. You’ve heard them all before. All you have to hear is, “That reminds me of the time when…” and you inwardly groan.
Now imagine writing a daily blog for years on end. After a while you forget which stories you’ve told. Sometimes before I start on a topic, I actually do a search of my own blog to make sure I haven’t covered it before.
I don’t suppose it matters, really. I have only a handful of longstanding faithful followers, and even with them, for some crazy reason, I am not the center of their universe. I could probably get away with a certain level of duplication.
Even so, I don’t know which would mortify me more: someone rolling his or her eyes and saying, “Yeah, yeah, you already told us that,” or someone rolling his or her eyes and saying, “The last time you talked about this subject you had a completely different opinion.”
As with the aging process, the older my blog gets, the more I will risk suffering from “blogheimers”. All I can do is apologize in advance. Because I might forget to do so later.