This morning my alarm went off in what felt like the actual middle of the night. It wasn’t; it was 5:20. But it hurt.
In my dreams, I’d been in the middle of an old-fashioned town hall meeting, debating road closures with my neighbors while seated next to my first banker from college days on the sofa I recognized from my first house. It took a long minute to get oriented—it’s Wednesday, that noise is my alarm, and it’s time to go work out.
I thought, Why am I so tired.
The answer came to me instantly: Netflix.
I know, I know, such a cliché, too much tv is bad, yada yada. But hear me out.
When it comes to Netflix, Will and I are committed to our shows: we watch one at a time. Last summer and fall it was Parks and Rec. Over the winter we started Scandal. Each one took us six months to finish.
We recently started a new show, highly recommended by the writers in my life. (Seriously, if you want good tv recommendations, book people know what’s up.) And we don’t watch it much—two or three nights a week, one episode at a time.
By most people’s standards, that’s a more-than-reasonable amount of tv. We’re talking three hours a week, max.
That’s not a lot of tv, and most people seem to manage that amount just fine. And I usually go to bed around 10, and most people consider that to be pretty early.
But I’m not most people, and I’m exhausted.
I am generally interested in what works for everyone else—in what others seem to find interesting and useful and helpful and tasty. But the stories we tell ourselves matter—and the story I’ve been telling myself is that staying up till 10 isn’t a big deal. Because it isn’t, to most people.
When I was growing up, being low-maintenance was a core family value. It’s taken me a long time to accept that there are some areas of my life where I can’t afford to be low-maintenance; where those things that seem to work for everyone else just don’t work for me.
It seems everyone else can drink caffeine. Everyone else likes that one über-popular book. And everyone else can eat mangos and cashews to their heart’s content. (This has likely never come up here on the blog, but I’m terribly allergic—a real bummer because both these foods are trendy right now and in everything.)
Today, I’m tired. And that isn’t Netflix’s fault.
But this is about more than just my bedtime. Today I’m noticing my habits in a way I didn’t before, paying attention to the stories I’m telling myself—about what I need, about what might work for me—and especially, to where those stories are coming from.
What are the stories you tell yourself about what you need and what you can get by with? What things seem to work for everyone but you? And how do you watch a good show and still manage to get enough sleep? Tell us all about it in comments.