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I suffer from night guilt. Because disorder acronyms are so popular these days, I'm going to call it LNGD (Late Night Guilt Disorder) Generally caused by a combination of self-centeredness, obsessive creative pursuits, and being a mother, it has been known to strike many woman without warning. Here are the symptoms:
Insert calm announcer voice and, maybe, a picture of a sad dog with a tennis ball:
Announcer: "You know those regrets you feel at the end of the day?
"I should have..."
"I shouldn't have..."
"Why did I...?"
"Why didn't I...?"
Announcer: "If you find yourself asking those questions when you should be sleeping and then staying up to concoct a list of 10 wild ways to be a better person, you could be suffering from LNGD."
Lately, I've been having those symptoms a lot. As it turns out, starting a business, preparing to birth a book, and promoting it (as well as your other writing activities)... takes a lot of time. And money. And planning. And... time.
And somebody always gets the shaft, don't they? And when you're a mom, and nighttime comes, and everyone is asleep, it hits you... the guilt. (also known as LNGD) Why does it happen?
Maybe LNGD symptoms first appeared when your teen decided to make her own supper because you were too engrossed in editing that chapter to realize it was 7:30 p.m. Or perhaps when you had to ask your 6th grader to repeat her question on the vocabulary homework five times just because your brain was so otherwise engaged that her words just weren't making it through the other noise. Or maybe it's 12:37 a.m. and you just realized that you have no bread with which to make the requisite school lunches in the morning. Or perhaps you turn on the computer because your friend trusted you to mind her blog and make it grow during her sabbatical and you have neglected it. A lot. (Sorry, Joy.)
Or maybe that's just me.
In launching one area of my life, I've let so many other areas slide,leading to many reasons for my persistent LNGD symptoms; but, as you will see from the list below, the most well-greased slides in my life are relational, and my bum is planted in the cat-sand at the bottom of the slide. Yes, I pretty much suck at relational maintenance. (LNGD) And that is just plain sad. That's no way to live, regardless of how successful or derelict you become, relationships are why we're HERE. Color me ashamed of myself. (LNGD)
In any case... here's what I'm proposing I should do. Whether or not I follow through with it is yet to be seen. (LNGD)
1. Office hours on weekdays -- with the computer actually OFF by 5:30 p.m. and me, out of the cave and transplated to the same actual room as another human. And one day each weekend with NO COMPUTER at all. (I'm already shaking from withdrawal.)
2. Dinner at the (cleared off) table with no electronics allowed, for whomever is home at the supper hour -- even if the teen is off at an activity or the hubs is at a community theater practice.
3. Blogging (here) twice a week, minimum. Even if it's just dropping in to say "Hi."
4. Getting to bed at a decent hour so that I can be "present" and awake in my daily life outside of writing.(okay, it is nearly 1:40 a.m. as I'm typing this, so... LNGD! )
5. Exercise. I'll get back to that. Just typing the word makes me feel like I'm going to fail, so...? (LNGD!)
6. Make time for an in-person friend interaction twice a month. (imaginary friends don't count) For some of you, this may cause a gasp. But when it comes to my time, I am probably THE most selfish person on the planet. (LNGD) My to-do list (especially when it comes to my writing) almost always takes precedent over my to-love list. That's gotta change.
7. Make one morning a week a time to visiting other blogs. Spending so much time in my selfish little bubble, I've let even my world wide web world grow too small.
8. Find a way to integrate personal worship into every day. If you want a relationship to be vibrant and alive, you have to make an effort to connect, right? Man, do I need that connection with the one who made me and is allowing me to be a vessel. That sounds selfish, I know. But when worship is done right (and I'm not saying I achieve that very often) it's a reciprocal benefit, I think. Not that he needs me, but he does love me.
(somehow, my symptoms seem suddenly... less.)
9. I will thank people. More often. For the little things.
10. I will be thankful. More often. For the little things and the big things.
So there's my "should do" list, brought on by my persistent LNGD symptoms. It's something to aim for, at least. It may have been brought on by late night guilt, big to-do lists, and a selfish heart, but it does put some things in perspective.
Just putting that out there. Cuz I have the feeling I'm not alone in this disorder. (Even if I did just make it up.)