Saturday, December 31, 2022

Back To Bed

"Back to bed" is a phrase I think evokes the idea of giving up. That things are going so wrong there is no point in going on with the day and simply going back to bed would make more sense so one could reset and start over later. There's been a lot during pandemic days where time and purpose became battered to the point of feeling like we should all just go "back to bed."

But I never hear it that way. For me, there are few pleasures in life greater than getting to go back to bed.

When you think you have to get up, or you need do something very early, but then it turns out there's time to crawl back under the covers and steal a little more sleep before your day must begin. I love that.

I have trouble sleeping many nights, and it's usually not until morning that I find it easier to rest, which never seems fair when I have to get up to keep to some kind of schedule. An alarm going off and interrupting real sleep is an unpleasant way to start the day.

But between my children growing up, and the pandemic shutting everything down, I don't think I've set my alarm for the morning more than a couple of times in the past three years. Quinn doesn't need me before school unless her bus doesn't show. The pool where I swim only recently re-opened, but as long as I'm in it by 9:00 I can make it to work on time after swimming. (That's one of the perks of running your own business: Setting the hours. My parents' art gallery didn't open until 11:00 because they were not early-risers either, so my 10:30 start time almost seems ambitious.)

I am not wired to be up before 8:00. I can do it. I did it for decades while raising children and I kept my alarm set for hours that are always still dark, but it's painful. For me, it physically hurts to wake up too early. During the kids' elementary school years I wanted a snow day as much as they ever did. Because sometimes that meant going back to bed!

Back to bed is the best.

One of the things I really love about our new dog, Domino, is that she also likes to go back to bed. The first week we had her, I was concerned because she needed to get up very early for a walk, and then wanted to play in the living room when we got inside again. I started resigning myself to returning to a phase similar to when my kids were small and I would have to be someone who would get up and stay up, but no. After the dog was settled into her new home, she started sleeping in, and then when given the option after her first walk of crawling back under the covers? She jumps at it. Domino has a lot of energy, and when she's wound up she wants to bounce and prance and play, but almost any time that I can crawl back in bed, she'll happily join me. She burrows deep under the covers and snuggles up. It's perfect.

I admire people who can get up early and accomplish a lot before noon. But nobody ever accuses me of not doing enough things, so I don't lament not being an early bird. I do wish I had more opportunity to go back to bed on an average day, though. It's like an unexpected bonus, a surprise gift, a stolen stretch of dazed calm. It's a welcome time-out in a busy day. I've had a few chances to go back to bed over this winter break, and it's made the vacation that much better.

Looking back on 2022 this New Year's Eve, "back to bed" is a good summary to me. There were parts that were frustrating or disappointing because that's life, but overall? There were more unexpected bonuses and moments of joy than anyone deserves. I got to go to Venice with my mom. I got a new dog that loves me. I got to improve our house with a new deck. I got to spend time with my husband and kids. I got to make music. I got to put instruments I made in the hands of people who were excited to play them. I made new friends. I had time with family at the cottage. I put out an ABC book. My back problem appears to be gone. Stitch Fix finally sent me some decent concert clothes. I feel more calm.

The pandemic damaged my sense of time in that 2020 was a slow blur, 2021 was disjointed, but 2022 unfolded in a way that felt more welcome and familiar. Like going back to bed.

I'm looking forward to 2023. I hope you are, too.

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