Thursday, April 24, 2014

Morning Star

Lately, I've been hearing from an awful lot of people that they're feeling down. Stressed, sad, and buried under worries... From family, to friends, to bloggers it seems like everyone is going through a tough time.

Maybe it's the extra long cold winter, or maybe it's just the stars, but it has made me think about some advice I got when I got married.

At my bridal shower, a dear prep-school friend's mother was gracious enough to include me in a particular family tradition, and like many bridal traditions, this one centered around everyone present giving advice to the soon-to-be bride. I have kept all of those slips of paper, and enjoy looking at them from time to time, but there are a couple that have really stuck with me, and there's one I'm thinking about now with so many people I care about feeling overwhelmed…

Go to bed angry.

It might seem like odd advice considering the well-known idea that an argument should be settled before anyone can stew all night long, but the back of the slip of paper explains the reasoning:

Sometimes it's just too hard to see clearly when you're tired. Get some sleep, and things will be easier in the morning.

I have to admit that it's true. Not only in arguments, but in everything that shakes us.

I'm usually one to fall asleep the minute her head hits the pillow, but this week, I had a night where I just couldn't sleep no matter how hard I tried. My mind was racing over my long to-do list, worries, and things that were upsetting me for which I felt helpless to change. While my marriage was not one of the things on my worry list, eventually, this advice floated past my racing thoughts, and I realized that it's been a piece of advice I've held onto in many different circumstances.

There are many times in all of our lives that things don't go as expected. It could be serious debt, worries about relationships of many kinds, career concerns, or any number of other troubles… But no matter what it is keeping us up at night, sometimes it's best to force ourselves to let it go. The trouble may still be exactly the same in the morning, but somehow the rising sun always seems to bring renewed hope, and often it even brings ideas about moving forward that seemed impossible just the night before. Sometimes it's best to just trust ourselves, give ourselves a break, and reconsider the problems in the clarity of sunlight.

If you've felt like one of the many people who seem to be overwhelmed lately, I hope you'll choose to be as kind to yourself as you would be to a friend, and give yourself some understanding and a good night's sleep. Plans of attack are so much easier to compile with the help of the morning sun.

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"There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- God damn it, you've got to be kind."
-Kurt Vonnegut