Thursday, October 5, 2023

Working while asleep


I often wake up in the middle of the night with a mind that refuses to be still. I'm left questioning: was I genuinely processing thoughts, or was my brain just spouting gibberish?

As I drift toward sleep, thoughts of tomorrow's tasks flood in. Some nights, they weigh heavy, urging my restless mind to quieten. On others, they offer an unexpected comfort—it's tough to empty the mind, especially when avoiding specific thoughts (like that elusive pink elephant!).

In a way, I cherish these introspective moments that happen between the limbo of yesterday and tomorrow. They signify a fulfilling intellectual life in my waking hours. And honestly, guiding a few whimsical thoughts before sleep feels a bit like playfully herding sheep towards the Sandman.

These days, I have been so busy that I do not have time to worry. At nineteen, while many of my friends feel the pressure of youthful adventures or the absence of romantic ties by junior year, I sense my priorities are different. I rarely spend money on gadgets or clothes or go out to parties. I don't try to draw attention to myself too much. My focus isn't on what's missing in my life but on seizing the present moment. I find myself without much left over desire to spare beyond mastering the Now. I want to do good work and support the things I care about.

I've often heard that many people on their deathbeds regret working too much and living too little. But I beg to differ. When work is fueled by passion, it becomes as intimate and rewarding as any relationship. It's just me, my favorite playlist, the joy of progress, and an encompassing sense of purpose. It's been this way for as long as I could remember!

Sometimes, in periods when I'm as productive as I am now, I have pangs of fear that I’m burning the candle at both ends; what if something unforeseen stalls my momentum, dampening the joy I derive from my pursuits? It feels like this always happens inevitably.

This– however– is self-inflicted defeat, I'm learning. Succumbing to such anxieties ultimately won't help. Take the example of Caligula—his paranoia didn't enhance his leadership; it nearly destroyed Rome. While overthinking and 'what-ifs' had their place in the savannah, they're less suited for the lecture hall.

My new approach? Jump in, give it my best, and try not to overthink. After all, I am my own biggest critic.

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