Oct 112013
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Getting out of bed in the morning is an act of false confidence.  Jules Feiffer

bedIt’s been a week since we got back from Argentina and life is beginning to get back to normal.  I have to say that taking a long trip makes you stop and think about what is so wonderful about normal.  Normal is what you are trying to get away from.   In truth, normal is a comfort zone.  It is the environment that allows you to relax and stop worrying about everything that might go wrong.   But normal is what makes the trains run on time and gets the bills paid so we are working on getting back to normal.

In Argentina we were gradually drawn into the life schedule of Argentinians.  We began eating later in the evening and not being so concerned about getting up in the morning.  It didn’t happen overnight.  It just crept into our lives.  At first we didn’t even notice.  The biggest reason is that you can’t find any restaurants that serve dinner before 8:00.  At 8:00 they will let you sit down and   give you a menu but it will probably be at least 30 minutes before they will get you a drink or take an order.  Still, when you get your food at 9:00 or so, the restaurant will be deserted and only start to fill when you leave at 10:00.  I’m not complaining about that.  It is just one of the weird quirks of the Argentine lifestyle.  They aren’t going to change it for us and so we coped.  What we didn’t anticipate were the consequences of eating later.

Each morning, we got out of bed later and later.  By our last week, nine in the morning seemed early.  There were no consequences of this change because as tourists, nine was plenty of time to do our sightseeing.  The downside of our new lifestyle pattern didn’t hit until we got back.  All this week I have struggled to get out of bed in the morning.

There are plenty of excuses.  Buenos Aires is four hours ahead of California which is enough of a difference to mess up your inner clock.  I would wake up at 2:00 or so and then get back to sleep expecting to wake up at 7:00.  I slept until 9 and even then didn’t want to get out of bed.  There was nothing to look forward to.  We weren’t on vacation any more but we didn’t have any work commitments either.  We were still putting stuff away and getting the house back in shape.  Nothing to look forward to about that.

Even when life began to become more normal, I couldn’t get myself out of bed each morning.  I’m still struggling to get up before 9:00.  It can’t still be the Argentine lifestyle because we’ve been eating at our normal time and getting to bed around 10.  Getting enough sleep and getting up bright and early should be easy.  So what’s the problem?

My theory is that it’s the disruption to my old routine- the normal day to day pattern that structured life before our trip.  I had my life figured out back then.  I had a schedule of tasks and priorities and that motivated me to get up and work.  One month with no routine and a relaxed lifestyle has made that confidence disappear.  I’m not sure what my priorities are for today and even less sure what is important and why.  How important is getting that post written?  Will it matter to anybody except me?  What else could I do that would really make a difference.

This, in turn, raises the question about what I know about my priorities anyway.  Am I doing something important or am I more like a dog chasing his tail- busy but going nowhere.   Right now, my getting out of bed each morning is beginning to seem not so important.  In time, I expect this all to pass but whether this should be considered progress or regression, I can’t say.  I am driven to find meaning in life whether it actually exists or not so I expect that next week- or the week after at the latest- I will be back in the groove and focused.  I can only hope that I am doing something that makes a difference.  In any case, by then I will be too busy to spend much time worrying about it.


Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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