Yesterday, a friend posted a link to this article on bimodal sleeping. If you have the time, go read it. It's really interesting and basically says that our ancestors used to go to bed early (around 8:30pm), sleep for several hours, awaken in the middle of the night and spend a few quiet hours reading or writing or praying or even communing with friends and family, and then go back to sleep for several more hours before beginning their day. It struck me for two reasons. First, because I know many perimenopausal and menopausal women who wake for several hours in the middle of the night and fret about it. This might be a new way of seeing that time in a more productive, relaxed fashion. Or not. But the second reason I was taken by this article was because of the philosophical question the author asked about the nature of time and how we treat it. He says,
"I can definitely see the benefits of recognizing, and attempting to live by, a new understanding of time. Time as quality. Duration. Flavor....It’s not important to quantify time like we do. Maybe what’s needed is to step back and be present..."All of a sudden, I envisioned us like fish in the sea, swimming in time. What if I can begin to see time as simply a medium through which I move instead of something that is finite and exhaustible? What if, instead of feeling like I can work like mad now and "store" time for retirement (ie. sleep more, relax more, do more of what I like when I have "more time,") I don't put so much emphasis on time itself? If it is simply the water through which I move as I pursue those things that are truly important, it ceases to be a taskmaster to which I answer every day. Worth noodling on, I think.
I walk the dog at the same time every morning. We stroll the same path every time, encountering the high school students rushing to class and an occasional neighbor walking their dog, and it is a short walk, but there is comfort in the sameness of it. The dog does his business in pretty much the same place every day, rain or shine, and we see the same faces and houses every day. While there are minor changes from time to time - the leaves on the trees or the sidewalk, Halloween or Christmas decorations adorning the houses - they are the things I am drawn to because the basic structure and framework of the route remains the same. This morning I happened to notice how dark it was outside and as the dog paused to sniff at something interesting, I noodled on it a bit. Two weeks ago we were in the midst of my favorite kind of days, the ones that bring cold, clear skies in the morning and brilliant sunshine in the afternoon that barely melts the frost on the grass. These mornings are fraught with a riot of color streaking the sky, the sun painting the few low clouds with glorious pinks and oranges and reds, and they are light. For the past several days, we have awoken to dense fog or cloud cover that blocks the morning sun and makes me feel as though I got up an hour too early. As I stood scanning the sky I could see clear spots pockmarking the clouds here and there and I marveled at how much a thin cloud cover can block the morning light. I was reminded of the way that works in my brain, as well. Sometimes all it takes is a little frustration or stress to begin my day in darkness instead of light. Maybe now that I know this, I can work a little harder to find those pockets of clear sky and remind myself that the sun always comes up and just on the other side of those clouds is the warmth and clarity I want to reside in.
And for those following the saga of the ultrasound, an update: While there were no glaring issues, there was at least one question raised that prompted my doctor to request further testing and I am torn. I am thrilled that most of the results were negative for anything really bad, but since I have been feeling pretty darn good since about a week before the ultrasound (of course), I am tempted to chalk it all up to perimenopause and assume that my hormones will assert their will over my body for several years before they finally give up. This may all change when and if I start feeling badly again, but for now what I really want for Christmas is to avoid the doctor for a while.