Monday, January 17, 2011

It felt so wrong and it felt to right

Never Done: Saw a movie written and directed by Jeff Lipsky
Never Done: Left during the talk-back

It's always strange to leave something special out of the blog just because I've done it before. Because I know there are some friends who are tracking my days in a sort of social way, and if I just go ahead and write about the movie I saw without mentioning that I got to spend most of the day in Manhattan with my uncle, aunt, and cousin, then it seems weird. Especially when in truth, I did a couple things I've never done before. Like leave my iPhone on a barstool (I had not been drinking) and walk out of the restaurant. And get all the way downtown before noticing it. And only noticing it because my uncle teased me, and wanted to know why I wasn't wearing the gloves they had just given me -- the gloves with little patches on the thumb and first finger, to allow me to use my iPhone without freezing off my fingers. So I put on the gloves, and then after a little while wondered why I didn't have my iPhone in my pocket. So I took off my backpack, and rifled through it, and it didn't take long to realize I had left it at the restaurant. Which I have never done before. But Leigh called, and they had it, and although the maitre d' was disapproving of me, or just looked disapproving in general, I did get it back without further incident.

The other thing I'd never done was bring snacks to a football watching gathering. I've barely even watched football. But the Jets Patriots game was on, and my uncle is a Pats fan, and didn't really want to watch the game in a New York bar, so we decided to watch it in the hotel. I don't like to miss an opportunity to accessorize a gathering, so I brought beer and chips. Only I brought a bottle of fancy oatmeal stout, mango and coconut chips. (Also, I brought Ben and Jerry's coffee ice cream, which is the only thing I knew for sure would be a hit with my family.) The fruit chips were good! But sadly, the Patriots weren't, and were losing 3-7 when I left, and ultimately lost, 21-28.

All that before I went to pick up my repaired MacBook Pro, on which I now type, at the Apple Store. I choose to say no more about that, except that I am relieved to have my baby back.

All that before I went to the Angelika to see a new movie by Jeff Lipsky, called Twelve Thirty, which Steven Holden loved up in the New York Times. Jeff is a friend, and I am extremely happy for him, but I don't want to talk about the movie. I want to talk about the talk-back, and how the Mussar mide (middah) of Diligence: Always find something to do helped me to leave before it was done, to honor a commitment I made to myself about getting enough sleep. I am a super light sleeper: easily woken up, and chronically tired. The past weeks I've been even more chronically tired than usual, and have finally figured out how to get onto a sleeping schedule that has been helping. Encouraged by my friend Sherry's blog in which she writes about sleep hygiene, which as I understand it, includes always going to bed at the same time and always waking up at the same time, I have started to try to go to bed at 11, and make sure the lights are out by 11:30 or 12. I used to get up without an alarm, and usually woke up at 6 AM, no matter when I went to sleep. Then I started sleeping in if I wasn't rested, which I took as a good sign that I'd become more flexible. Since I started taking thyroid medicine which I have to take at the same time every day, I started setting the alarm for 7 AM, and on the nights I can't sleep, rolling over and going back to sleep, anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours, which has been delicious but ultimately bad or me, because once I sleep in til 9 AM, it makes it harder for me to be ready to go to sleep at 11 PM. I think this is precisely the point of sleep hygiene.

My new goal is to get up at 7 every day, after 7-8 hours of sleep. There are a few hidden discoveries in that statement. One is that I am now acknowledging that I need 7-8 hours of sleep a night, whereas for years I got by on 5 or 6. The other is that I need to get to bed before midnight, because if I blow past the point when I'm tired and ready for bed, I get to a point when I'm wired and can't sleep. (I'm finding this a little boring, and thinking that it might be a little boring to read, and wondering when I'm going to get to my point.) Let me get to my point. You might remember that when my Mussar group first discussed Diligence: Always find something to do, that Alissa mentioned that for busy, over-programmed people, "something to do" could well be self-care. And you might also remember that I wrote that the one down-side of my Mussar practice of Never Done has been that I am extremely tired, because I have to fit both a new thing and a blog writing practice into my days now. So I decided to be diligent about getting enough sleep.

So there I was, in the Angelika theater, after watching Twelve Thirty, participating in a robust talk-back that Jeff himself was leading, and it was getting later, and later, and later. The film had ended at 9:15PM, and it was almost 10PM, and I realized that I had to make an uncomfortable choice: stay in the theater out of respect for a friend and fellow filmmaker, or leave in the middle of the talk-back to honor my commitment to myself. Normally I would stay. This time I got up and left. It felt so wrong, and it felt so right. I got home by 10:45, in time to get to bed by 11PM. Shehekhianu.

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