Sometimes I arrive on our landing, struggle with my keys to unlock the door, and fall inside, arms full of bags and groceries. As I haul them to the kitchen to put everything in its proper place, the strange feeling comes over me: I'm a grown up.

There are other times when it hits me too. When I'm walking home from the library or coming out of the subway steps towards work. When I send Christmas cards. When I fold my towels, fresh from the dryer. "I am an adult," it occurs to me. "I made this life."

To be honest, I'm not lonely very often. For whatever reason- be it personality, an incredible amount of luck, choosing a friendly environment to live and work in- I mostly enjoy everyone around me. I meet people on park benches, I joke with them on line in Starbucks, I help them fold their umbrellas when their hands are full. I like to treat people as if they happened to be a guest staying in my place; be gracious and hospitable and welcoming to anyone, anywhere. This is a winning formula.

There is one time of the day when this all sort of falls to pot and that remains the odd minutes between turning the light out and falling asleep. Last night I couldn't sleep and thrashed around for hours before I tuckered myself out. In the meantime, I came up with all sorts of scenarios for how unhappy I was, how sad and lonely human existence is. I have a flair for the dramatic when I'm tired but not sleepy.

Why does that happen at night? Why do we feel more vulnerable, more alone, less loved? It's in those moments that I wish I weren't an adult, but still a kid in my parents' house, at a time when no one expected me to be sharing a bed with anyone but myself. When it was perfectly acceptable (in my heart and others') to be a single entity- alone, and not yet cognizant that alone can all too often mean "without."

Suggestions for the sleepless moments? You can email them if you're shy. I won't mind.


Anonymous said...

Whenever that happens to me, I just get up and drink hot milk- its supposed to help fall asleep
(with cookies-not so good!) How are you Jennifer?

Anonymous said...

Sex & The City... or basically anything you know so well and find comforting that you can hit 'play' and after a few episodes fall asleep to it (Seinfeld). True, depending on your mood & the particular episode, SATC might further exacerbate the unwanted mood, but more likely than not you'll find some comrodery and feel less lonely.


ps - or just call me/someone!

Edith said...

yeah hot milk +vanilla or honey

and your mp3 on with either some really relaxing tunes (i.e sigur ros or sufjan stevens for example) or something you know by heart (with guitar riffs and lyrics not too dancey!)

sleep tight darling!

p.s you'll wake up in the middle of the night with your mp3 still on so don't put it too loud otherwise it's going to hurt your ears!

suffragettes said...

Jen, I love to read your notes, they are so accurate. I guess it's human thant anxiety kind of pops up at night.
My whorse moments are in the morning, don't ask me why, I don't know. And it's harder to cope with because it's in the morning that you have to be the more brave and "volontaire".
Bisous cutie !

Anonymous said...

Well, this comment is late but one thing I know about those late night episodes is that they always come back. I actually thought I was the only person that had the equivalent of mid life crises when I'm supposed to be sleeping :) Personally, forcing your body to sleep is not an option. These bouts are the result of a burdened mind and the mind will keep nagging until the load is lightened. Get up and write it out. If you can't purge with the pen, tire yourself out with some exercise. Finally, when all else proves futile, pick up a bible and try reading God's repetitive instructions on the building of the Ark of the Covenant or his tedious delivery of the law code. If you remain alert and restless after that, I'll personally buy you a bottle of Wild Turkey to end the problem :)