The end of the day

At the end of each day, I have my alone time.  It is not an intentional act of mine, this alone time.  It just happens.  And I think it is necessary for me as a person… even though it isn’t intentional.

Whenever I am with people overnight somewhere, and we all head off to bed around the same time, everyone is usually surprised the next day to discover that I was awake close to an hour after we had all parted ways.  My mom, I think, is accustomed to my going to bed later than she does in the first place, and so she doesn’t really notice it until we travel together.  When we’re staying in the same room, she usually complains a good amount, until she finally goes to sleep and lets me finish my bedtime stuff.

Which brings me to my bedtime stuff.  I would call it my bedtime ritual, except that it isn’t actually a ritual.  And it isn’t exactly a routine either, because the order and timing change around, depending on the night.  It’s just what I do before going to sleep.  This includes, but is not limited to flossing and brushing my teeth, using the bathroom, washing my face, changing clothes, and reading.  Such has been the case for the past few, possibly even several, years.  This past year has added to it my showering, cleaning and irrigating my ears, and writing for my weblog (if I haven’t yet done it that day (which is most days)).  Sometimes, I stretch after my shower, too, but I usually forget that one.

These things don’t necessarily take all that long under normal circumstances.  Ask me to do them all in the middle of the day, and I’ll be finished quite quickly.  But having me so they all at night, just before bed, means having them take around an hour, possibly longer.  Like I mentioned, this time is my alone time.  Perhaps it is a subconscious act, taking so long to do it all, my mind giving me a chance to unwind after whatever the day brought me.  Some nights, I am utterly exhausted, and yet I still take around half an hour to get everything finished and actually turn out my light to sleep.  Sometimes, I just find myself standing or sitting somewhere around my apartment or room, waiting… I suppose I must be waiting for the unwind to finish, or something to that effect…

Whenever I travel to dance events, there is usually someone already asleep by the time I come in to go to bed, and definitely by the time I am finishing my bedtime stuff.  So, I usually find myself sitting on the bathroom floor (or next to a cracked-open bathroom door, if there isn’t really space to sit on the floor in the bathroom) in my pjs and with my hair wet, reading from my two books.  

The first book is always the same.  I began reading from it daily over three and a half years ago, as part of my desire to read the whole thing.  I have kept to my word on it (although there are two or three days where I honestly couldn’t remember the next day if I had done my reading or not, so I read extra to make up for what might have been missed) since I began, and have read at least a little bit every day.  I didn’t want to give myself a set amount that would burn me out, so I just said that I had to read something.  That could be as little as a sentence.  Some nights, it has been.  Some nights, it has been pages.  Usually, it is a few sentences or a little section within a section.  One day, I will finish it.  In the meantime, I am learning all sorts of outdated French words as I read through this Bible.

The second book is a different story. It isn’t even a requirement.  I began the requirement to read each day several years ago, before the Bible thing began.  Back then, I would find myself reading messages on envelopes or greeting cards as I was going to bed, because I needed to read at least a whole sentence in that day as part of my goal to read every day (which, in turn, was part of my goal to read lots and to read often).  Now that I have the Bible required for every day, the second book is just for pleasure.  For days when I’m at a particularly boring part in the Bible, I wanted to have something else to make the reading exciting and worth doing – extra encouragement, so to speak.  So, the only requirement of the second book is that it be something I like reading.  Right now, it is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  The last one was Catch 22, and the one before that was a Sophie Kinsella.  What exactly it is changes with each new book – just whatever’s next on the list, and also feels right for my nighttime book (gotta have something positive before bed, because those thoughts go with me into sleep).  Another rough requirement for my nighttime book (Bible included, actually), is that it be only my nighttime book – I don’t carry it around and read it during the day, too.  When I did in the past, I would rush through it so quickly, I’d be without a nighttime book again in only a couple or few days, and the whole purpose would be lost.  So I have daytime books now, in addition to my nighttime ones.  They’re usually on my Kindle (which is super cool), for easy transport.  My nighttime books are always real books, because I don’t really have to haul them around.  When I do take a trip, I usually just photograph the pages, if I’m limited on packing space/weight.

Anyway, I made it through the rest of my stuff too quickly tonight, so I had to spend more time on this than I had intended – I’m exhausted!  Going to read now (and we’ll see if it happens quickly, because I’m really liking where I am in Zen right now) ad get to sleep as soon as possible!  Sweet dreams, world.

Post-a-day 2017

Advertisements

Music creates life

You know, music really can make life feel worth living.

These past few weeks have been really odd for me, and this week, especially, has been quite filled (to partial explosion) with stress, and an odd kind at that.  This afternoon, as I had still two hours to fill, after what had felt like a day’s worth of work and several hours of painful efforts to sleep, I put on my jacket and rushed out into the hallways to get myself moving around, and in hopes of finding something to help pass the time, preferably involving movement (thus my vague plan of aiming for the gymnasium).

The music students are currently preparing solos (with piano accompaniment), and so I came across one of my lovelies (the Bass player) rehearsing in the hallway/student entrance area (there’s a piano there) with her accompanist.  They welcomed me joyfully, and so I watched and hopped around (it was filthy cold) with semi-frozen delight for a bit.

They finished after not quite ten minutes, and so I wandered on my way toward the gym again.  As I was making the final turn, I was caught by a trumpet and a couple clarinets (which was fine by me).  One of them had told me that she wants to play with me, but our scheduled time for today had to be canceled, because she had to go home after rehearsal.  But she was here now, and practicing…, so she dragged me in and got me to play a bit (though not together, since we only had one trumpet).

Then, when I thought they were all leaving, they told me to come with them upstairs to what turned out to be a brief a capella singing rehearsal.  They were sopranos, so I got to stand with them and learn the soprano part to a very pretty Japanese song.  It was almost spooky how cool it sounded and felt to be in the group, making such beautiful music.

Afterward, we established that one girl is crazy, and I declared my similar mental state.  She and I, and others off and on, proceeded to dance around to the music of others rehearsing… we high fived as I was about to leave, as a sign of joint craziness and joy, and I said my goodbyes to the room, with lots of love in reply.  I truly felt myself at home with this goofy group of musicians.

As I rushed out the door, and put back on my shoes, a flautist was in the hallway, next to my shoes.  He excused himself, and I said, “Play!”  Instantly, and with a smile and an “Okay,” he played part of his solo piece for me.  It was beautiful.

And it was standing there in that freeing hallway, listening to this boy play flute, that the thought crossed my mind, unbitten, “Music really can make life worth living.”

As I have struggled with life lately, – and no, I don’t mean in the sense of giving up on life as a whole, but just on giving up on this part of life, living here and doing this job and all of that – what has gotten me through every time has been music.  Sometimes it has been live music from these kids at school, or from the guitar I got as an early Christmas present last week.  Sometimes it has been from Spotify or my music collection.  And sometimes even just a single song that a friend sent me from YouTube.

Whatever the case, the source of my survival, my strength, my belief that this life is worth continuing and working at, despite its near-overwhelming hardships, has been music.  I finally understand a bit what a friend of mine meant, when she said she felt like she had died, when she lost her hearing and, thereby, music.  When I don’t have the music, I just get used to the solemn melancholy, the deafening silence of a lifestyle I don’t love – I grow accustomed to not living, and I despise the existence (but that all just becomes the norm).  And when I do have the music, I am excited for today, for right now, and for what tomorrow might bring – I feel the life inside me and all around me, and I yearn to spread myself around and live to the fullest.

Music really does give life and make life worth living, even when it feels like you have nothing else for you.

I'm part of Post A Day 2016