Yesterday (by which I still mean Thursday) was the first Thursday SOAR of the year. In case I’ve failed to mention, SOAR stands for Student Orientation and Registration, and in case I’ve failed to mention, as a Student Ambassador at Guilford Tech, I’m obligated to assist with check-in and registration. Sometimes it’s frustrating (like when I tried to explain that the line should wrap around the stairs and for some reason, they failed to understand what I thought I was communicating clearly), but usually it’s quite rewarding (such as when one woman complimented me on how organised we all were, or when I helped another register for her classes and then watched her repeat the process all on her own), but whether it’s frustrating or rewarding, it’s all the time fun. And full of people. And for an introvert like me, that equates fun in this context with exhausting.
And yesterday I was exhausted.
After I did some school work, after I ate dinner, after I did some more school work and treated myself to some time on Facebook, I curled up in bed, read for a bit, and promptly went to sleep. I was thankful for that (and forgetful that it was still Thursday).
Sleep’s awesome. Sleep’s so awesome, I let myself sleep in till noon today. I mean, I woke up on occasion before that, but knowing I’d gone to bed late the past few nights, and knowing that I didn’t have school this morning (but not yet knowing how busy a day I’d have before), I decided it was worth sleeping a little bit longer. And it was!
I used to equate sleep with dreaming. Dreaming is fascinating, yet we know so little about it. There’s a theory for every dream a man has, if not more than that, but the majestic prospect of dreams on their own is awesome enough. They’re a glance inside our consciousness, into a world of meaning and symbols, aiding memory and leading us to fantasies both new and old…. Such as that one time when I saw a face in my dream and knew it was someone special (I won’t name names) or that time when I returned to a place I’ve only dreamed of, as if momentarily stepping into a parallel lifetime: I know this world, but it is not my own.
Not to mention the inspiration! I could elaborate, but if you’ve ever had a fantastic dream, or ever even heard the words Alice and Wonderland spoken in the same breath, you can get a semblance of what I’m talking about.
And for a time I associated sleep with escape. During my darkest days (that blotch of blackness upon my personal timeline between the years of fifteen and seventeen, approximately), I feared sleep for the want of not waking up, yet I reveled in the glory of it when morning came and I had no desire to wake up to yet another day. It was a subtle escape and one of my greatest memories of the time is being able to write right before I reached that point of exhaustion where the body demands its sleep by force, wherein the mind is boundless, consciousness calloused, and all the greatest wonders seem to pour out straight through the dreams of a wakened mind ready for darkness behind the eyelids.
Now I see sleep as merely sleep. General Psychology can do that to a man. But now, too, I understand sleep (in a way I have for a long time, but being taught it in class seems to make a difference, seems to make it more real now, more genuine somehow). Sleep is a time when our bodies consolidate information and restore the broken bonds formed throughout the day. It’s when our minds turn off for a time to recharge the circuits. It’s a time when we taste one sixtieth of death, according to Kabbalists, and I like that thought. But what I’m most thankful for is that I have sleep at all. Not everyone does, and that’s a shame.
I remember when I didn’t, and that was hell. I was anxious. I was irritated. I was constantly exhausted, but still unable to sleep. I sometimes try to think what changed, but too many things have changed to know which to credit. In my mind it shall always be my newfound openness, where once I stopped hiding I became found to myself, but correlation does not prove causation. This I’ve learned, too.
A hundred seems a mighty large number, now that I’ve reached the fourth thing on my list for which I’m thankful, but I suppose, with how many things there are in the world, finding ninety-six more to be thankful for shan’t be a problem. And if ever it should be, well, I’ll just have to sleep on it.