Anxiety, Faith, Gratitude, Growing up gay, Living in Hawaii, Marathon training and running, Middle Age, Pandemic, Quakerism
During my busiest time of year I’m too exhausted to have many dreams or nightmares!
Even on weekends I log in to my day around 5:30 a.m. Two hours later after two big cups of coffee, two glasses of warm water with a little apple juice, a review of emails and texts from four different sources, a brief cleaning of the kitchen and one soothing shower later, I’m ready for the minor avalanche: guiding my daughter through online learning and holding my head above water at my full-time job, both of which I do from home. A few breaks for my daughter’s snacks, reading poems with her, taking control of the laundry, and a slight guilt-tinged reading of articles to know what’s happening in the world more than fill the day by the time my husband comes home from teaching around 4 during the week. We sneak in a little viewing of Jeopardy and local and national news while we briefly review the day, catch up on a new round of homework for our daughter, and I prepare dinner when we all express gratitude and then sit together before I do another round of laundry, wash dishes, check work emails, watch a show with my husband, and have my one and only meal of the day. (Yes, for a long time now I fast for 22 hours every day although I drink plenty of liquids during those 22 hours. Fasting keeps my mind sharp!) When I’m lucky, I write a new poem, essay, or practice the bassoon a little.
The routine on weekends is pretty much the same although I go outside, with a mask, for a few hours to a park for a walk / run with my family, and we live for two days without Jeopardy!
So by the time I lay my head down on two pillows around 9:30 p.m., I am kaputt, especially in November and December.
But recurring nightmares still find a way now and then through a secret door in my mind.
I’ve had two for several years and they are predictable.
Because I crammed four years of college into three for my undergraduate degree, I still dream that I have another test to take! And because I feared that as a gay man of my generation I would never find a true love with whom I could have a child and a white picket fence existence, I find myself on long, convoluted, sometimes fascinating journeys in my sleep that take me to strange, fascinating cities I can’t quite identify where I’m alone. During those journeys to destinations unknown I realize that I’m getting older and that my chances of that white picket fence existence are dwindling.
Then I wake up, peer in the dark around me, and realize over and over again that I graduated from college with honors, that I’ve been with the love of my life for almost 20 years, that we have a glorious child and are living in a glorious home in Hawaii!
If it’s close to 5:30 a.m., I stumble into the kitchen to brew coffee and start the new day.