May 14, 2012

stress and dead horses

Please tell me that I am not the only one who does this. Last night I realized sometime around 2 am that I was stuck in some kind of thought pattern. Just thinking over and over again about pointless, stupid things, mostly logistics about work, about the Unichallenge next weekend. It was like my brain forgot that it was allowed to sleep, to do nothing, to rest, to take its regularly scheduled time off. It decided that this was a great time to fruitlessly attempt to figure out all the stuff that it has the next two weeks to figure out. This used to happen a lot more. Me, laying there in bed, not even realizing that I'm not sleeping.

Scumbag brain, won't even tell me I can't sleep.

And suddenly I realized that I wasn't sleeping, which was enough to break the cycle.  I got up, drank some water or something, crawled back into bed, and fell asleep. It actually used to do this a lot more and I don't really know why. My best guess is that it has something to do with caffeine or stress. I've cut back on the caffeine lately, but there isn't much I can do about the stress this time of year.

Somewhere in there, I dreamed I saw a dead horse on a roof. It was weird... weird enough for me to whip out my phone in my dream to take a picture of it so I could prove it later on. It's the kind of thing that must mean something. Then this morning my brain decided that 6 am - on my day off, no less - would be a lovely time to start back up again. I'm sure the "beating a dead horse" metaphor applies. But also, I really did see a dead horse by the side of the road the day before, and I wasn't dreaming. At the moment, I didn't have the time - or callous attitude - to whip out the phone to prove to everyone that I saw a dead horse. Because nobody here would really care, because it's really not a huge surprise.

And so I was laying there, in the early morning, hearing the waves crash into my back yard as they do all day, everyday, with my brain not-so-sneakily trying to get some work in. If I could remember what exactly it was thinking about, or if I'd made any progress at all, I'd consider trying to count them as work hours. But as it turns out, lost sleep doesn't count for billable hours.

I'm currently in the time of year where there's this huge cloud of undone stuff in front of me for our summer events. (If anyone has pointers on handling this kind of thing, send 'em my way.) One guaranteed way to add to the stress is to think about how I am the last line, the buck, as it were, when it comes to all that stuff. Generally, if I don't do it or tell/remind/delegate someone else to do it, it doesn't get done. Last year, as I learned my way around, lots of little things never got done because I never knew we had to do them and only realized them after they were missed.

One side of camp ministry is there are seemingly millions and millions of tiny details that need to get done. Stuff to move around, people to call, materials to get ready, ideas to scratch out, decisions to make. Not only am I trying to do all of those things, I'm trying to remember and record them to make sure they're not surprises to the person who succeeds me here once I leave. And they're all floating in my head, and on slips of paper, and on slightly more organized pieces of paper. This time of year, that workload of stuff is only going to increase. I'm learning what it means to be responsible for something, and the importance of getting real rest, and the difficulty therein.

But the other side of camp ministry is that the stuff that absolutely has to get done has a way of getting done. Everything else just fills in the cracks, non-essentials, details, which actually are the majority of the things that cause my stress, that keep me up at night. Or wake me up in the morning.

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