Sleeping In – An Irony

August 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sleepy cat, early morning, rue Pierre Bourdan, Paris, 75012

Normally I try to get up by about 6:30. I brush my teeth, splash some water on my face, drink a cup or two of water, then work out for an hour or hour and a half. Next I shower, eat breakfast, then sit down at the computer to work. For the past month or two, I have had a terrible time getting up in the morning, a problem that I am not used to. I am still usually up by 7:30, but it is too often a struggle. Since arriving in Paris things have been even harder, both in terms of getting up and in terms of achieving the work I want to every day. Partly, I think, this might be because I have been having a lot of intense, bad dreams, even some really bad nightmares. In order to be more productive I had planned to get up by 7 this morning no matter what, exercise, and get myself to the Bibliothèque nationale de France as early as possible. Maybe working in a different environment would be more productive?

Needless to say, when the alarm went off my body felt like it was trapped in mud. Getting up felt impossible. I dozed off, woke up, dozed off again, slept, woke up, all the while trying to figure out what it was my body needed and wanted. Maybe I needed to have a real sleep in, in order to move forward and get back on track? I decided to allow myself to really stay in bed until I was ready to get up, rather than forcing myself to get up no matter how tired I felt. So I stayed in bed until 10, practically unheard of for me. I can’t even remember the last time I slept in so late.

So here comes the irony. At 10, still planning to get to the Bibliothèque by 1pm, I sat down at my computer to download a pilates video. First I glanced at my home page, a Paris site that posts a daily What To Do Today in Paris tip. And what did it say today?

“National holiday-read a book in your favorite park.”

I went immediately to the Bibliothèque’s website and sure enough, closed le 15 août. Then to google. Turns out, August 15 is Assumption Day, feast of the Assumption of Mary (?). So perhaps my body was telling me something that my mind had not yet figured out. Today is a day off. Like the French, I will take today off. I have already slept in. Maybe next I really will go read a book in a park. A fun book! Nothing to do with my research! Tomorrow is a new day, the official end of the summer holiday for much of France, and maybe for me too. Of course I have been working throughout the summer, but maybe by being kind to myself today, I will be able to make tomorrow the beginning of something new. Of waking up early without a struggle and of writing productively, a little bit every day, more and more over time, until one chapter and then another is done.

And if my body tells me to sleep in once in a while, maybe I will do that too.

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