When did you become so focused on the road ahead that the morning sky ceased to inspire you? When did all of the things you had to do become what ruled your head?
You wake up in the morning at the last possible minute, and with no time to think, you throw yourself out of bed and get ready. If you’re lucky, you might even grab a bite to eat before pouring coffee into your travel mug and rushing out the door. You come home from class, work, or errands late in the afternoon, scattering your belongings across your space as you change into a new outfit, only to leave again in a few minutes for some event, or dinner with friends.
It’s dark when you return, and as you stand in the shower trying to unwind, all you want to do is sleep. You change into your PJs, but you can’t go to bed yet– there’s still a laundry list of things to be done, and you flick through the to-do list on your phone, wondering what you can put off. The house is a mess, you still have to write that email, you haven’t had a conversation with your mom in days, and you’re two episodes behind on your favorite TV series. If you hurry, you might get to close your eyes before 3 AM, only to start the whole process over again in a few hours.
When written out in that way, it sounds awful, but for most of us, this is reality. With how cluttered and demanding our day-to-day lives are, it’s easy to fall into a feeling of mindless monotony.
I am still breaking myself of this habit. After months of college applications, scholarships, paperwork, and interviews, I finally have settled where I’m going and what I’m doing.
I am content, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. I continue to be restless, to stay up at all hours because peace is such a foreign feeling, and I want to savor it.
But I am attempting to unlearn a flawed lesson we have all been told and taught: that you cannot let the sun set on a day where your business is unfinished.
Because sometimes, you just need to.
It was a song that did it for me, one that sang of sunrises and retries with such simplicity that it was as if I had just remembered that the sun rose every morning. It was a turning point– I stopped what I was doing and went to bed. I was nearing the end of the college admissions process as I began my unlearning, but it still changed everything I did. Even if it meant leaving things undone at the end of the night, getting some sleep and letting the sun do it’s thing vastly improved the remainder of my senior year.
Think about it this way: if you are exhausted after a long day, the things you try to do or the conversations you try to have will not be your best. You’ve probably learned by now that getting a full nine hours of sleep is nearly impossible, but fitting in just a few extra hours can still greatly improve your health, mindset, and productivity. Even if that means cramming in extra errands the next day, skipping out on socializing with friends once in a while, or foregoing Netflix for an evening to get some rest, it’s important, and worth it. And although it may feel like it, the busy days won’t last forever. Eventually, you will have time to catch up on all of the things you like to do– just don’t worry about doing them all tonight.
All our lives we’re told to live every day like there’s no tomorrow, to do all we can before the night is through. Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to let the sun set on our worries.
It takes a lot of faith to go to bed with things unfinished or unsaid, but you need to have that faith– in the universe, in God, in whatever you believe– to take care of yourself.
You have to trust that the sun will rise every day, that tomorrow will come. This isn’t an excuse to put things off, but motivation, a hope that things will be better in the morning.
It’s too stressful to live like we’re dying. For now, we’re not. We should rejoice in that.
I used to take pictures of the sunrise every morning on the way to school. I can’t remember when or why I stopped, but I want to marvel at the colors again. I want to be filled with light and color like the sky when the sun is coming up. I believe that light makes everything easier.
You should, too. Go to bed. Everything will be here in the morning.