It’s 3 am on the shortest day of the year and I’m having the sort of anxiety reserved for 3 am on the shortest day of the year at this latitude where the shortest day of the year is to put it succinctly – very, very short. Darkness surrounds us for sixteen or so hours of the 24 we got. It’s anxiety based on any tiny thing it decides to direct its attention to, and it keeps one awake, fidgeting, worrying, wondering why being I’m blessed with so much, I can have this daunting sense of impending doom. I’ve obviously blown my life, people hate me, I’m horrible at my job; I mean, look at me, it’s 3 am and I can’t even sleep, for the love of God (who also hates me).
I should be celebrating, right? It’s the winter solstice! The light is coming! Bright days ahead! In a few months we’ll have 10, 12, 14, then 16+ hours of sunshiny daylight to bask in. Our anxiety will be relegated to serious matters or mental illness, not this general malaise, this pointless worry. The seasons cycle and it all repeats. I can remember similar nights last year and the year before and pretty much everyone before that throughout my adult life. I don’t recall anxiety like this in my younger days. Worry, certainly, but not anxiety. That came on as if it were age-related, like a bad back, thinning hair or crow’s feet.
Maybe it’s based on complexity. My life has become ever more complex over the years and so maybe this is just my mind knowing there is so much to think about that it kind of just crashes a bit like an overwhelmed computer. All day long, I tend to whatever presents itself: getting the kids ready for school, myself to work, all that entails, dinner and so on. The middle of the night is empty of all that and a great opportunity for the mind to take off down some dark, creepy path. Running from another complex day that is sure to come before the sun rises. We go to bed in the dark and get up in the dark.
It’s silly, really. These are the moments I remember my buddy Colin fighting and then losing his life to leukemia. What he would give to have a sleepless night in the home of his beautiful wife and two beautiful kids.
What he would say to me right now I can’t even imagine, but something along the lines of stop whining! It’s the winter solstice! It’s only going to get lighter now!
He’s right. I’m fine. I’m going back to bed. Thanks, Colin.