I am not quite sure what brings me to the precipice of insanity, but lack of sleep these days seems to be pretty good at it. My poor boyfriend. I have been cranking on getting my ducks in a row for a three-month adventure and as a result, I am a bit behind on the zzzzs. The problem is I LOVE what I do so much, I don’t really care that I am not sleeping well until I start feeling the consequences.
Take a lack of sleep and add: moving to a new state, having to make a whole new set of friends, learning two new sports in 6 months, both of which involve extreme cold, wet, big falls, or breathing water if you mess up, having to poo in a plastic bag while you build your bathroom, having to sell your motorcycle (gasp!) and trying to rent out or sell your house on your iphone at red light stops, not doing yoga for three weeks…
And what do you get?
A very sensitive girlfriend.
Well, at least that’s what my boyfriend gets. Everyone else gets my smile and my laughter and my big juicy hugs because I can do that even when sleep-deprived. But we all know that any relationship worth it’s salt involves vulnerability and intimacy and a whole bunch of other things that aren’t easy to pull off with a fleeting smile, and even harder to pull off with few chi reserves.
Let’s cut to the chase and get to the story. And a story it is. A grand story I created in my sleep-deprived mind.
My boyfriend spends a lot less money than I do. A LOT less. We both make a good living. We both have really good reasons for living the way we do. And we also really respect the values one another has that leads to us doing things differently. But when this wild woman starts getting cranky, I just wish that he did things my way sometimes. Go figure!
Helpful hint: I LOVE love love eating out. After so many years eating crap ghetto food and cold food on a mountain (even though I really do love beans and rice), it is quite the treat for me.
And it doesn’t bother me that he doesn’t eat out so much. I just go with my girlfriends and live it up. What DID bother me recently was when several days in a row we get invited to meet friends at fancy places and we – HE – goes, completely willingly! I’m watching him hang out with our friends as they order hundreds of dollars worth of food and beverage.
I boil inside. The monumental hypocrisy! At least that’s how it felt at the time.
(I am going to preface the following paragraph with acknowledging that my man is totally awesome and romantic, and that I was a bit on the precipice when I thought this. But, I’m being real about my being on the precipice here.)
OK. We’re back to the boil. I think, “Wouldn’t it be fucking AWESOME if he thought of taking his girlfriend who just moved to fucking Alaska and who is selling her freakin’ house to be here and who left her friends and community out on a fucking date to a fucking wine bar or something? Wouldn’t that be just fucking awesome???????!!!!!!!” It would. But perhaps not so fun with this particular version of her right now.
I don’t say anything. Until I’m about to get on the plane for a quick trip to Oregon.
I try to rationalize inside that I am feeling a disproprotionate amount of anger for what the situation is. Yet I don’t know how to express myself reasonably under all this sleep deprivation. Oh, the inner turmoil! (hand on forehead, look of exasperation…) So I just shut up and fold clothes or something. And I pray and pray he won’t ask me the question.
But then he asks, “What is wrong?” Oops. I let it rip. Not in a completely crazy-making way, but in a way that was much less effective than it could have been. OK, maybe it was in a moderately crazy-making way. Instead of saying, “It would be nice if you could take me on a date to a yummy restaurant sometime. I think it would be really romantic. I’m going through a lot of changes and it would be a fun thing for me to do,” I gave a version of what I gave you above without so many of the f-bombs.
Then I say how I wish he would say “I love you” more (even though I know perfectly well that it isn’t how he expresses love most of the time). And really I don’t wish that. I just wished I didn’t feel the way I did just then.
Then it somehow morphed into me dramatizing that I hate how he feels resentful about how hard I’m working when really I am working so much so that I don’t HAVE to work for three whole months! And isn’t he a lucky dude to have a successful woman who can also pull off 3-months of playing without much notice AND pay mortgages on a nice home and a ski condo? I have no idea where that came out of, but now I know that he came to the conclusion that I somehow think we don’t spend enough time together.
This type of miscommunication is what happens when you are tired.
I spent the next few days going over our relationship, and in particular remembering the book The 5 Love Languages.
I felt guilty. Not for wanting the things I do, but for the way in which I was asking for them. I knew better.
Sure, he doesn’t take me to fancy restaurants, but do you know what he does do? He calls me on satellite phones from the South Pole just to chat. He gets up an hour before I do in an Alaskan winter and heats the yurt before I get out of bed. He cooks me dinner almost every night, makes tea for me in the morning, and started buying locally and organic vegetables. He brought me berries for my green smoothies, and he moved to Oregon with me so we could grow closer as I transitioned. He picks me wildflowers and hides little love notes in my bags when we’re going to be apart for awhile.
He takes me on easy rivers to learn new ways to have adventures. He is patient and kind with me and supports my dreams. He brags about me. He makes things happen. He built our home. He is continually trying to make it more comfortable for me. He takes me dancing and holds me tightly when I’m crying. He meditates with me as we sit in the sun on rocks, and we do this groovy tai chi-yoga-contact-dance thing when we’re feeling crunchy. He adventures with me all over the world. He is very, very romantic. And much much more.
So I guess I could have said, “Hey, how about a date night to a nice restaurant? I’d like that. It would mean a lot to me. Surprise me sometime soon, please;)”
And I could have said, “Here’s what I noticed that makes me really appreciate you…Did I miss anything? I want to learn all the ways you love me.”
And I could have said, “I know. You wish I wasn’t so busy so that we could spend more time together, because you love me. And we’ve waited for this opportunity for a long time. I know it’s frustrating. Soon, amor, soon….”
Well, it’s always easier in hindsight. I’ve been getting more sleep, and I am really really excited to hang out with my man and play in the mountains. And make dinners. And do all the things that help me remember – every day – why I am so lucky to be with him. And I bet he’s feeling the same way, ‘cuz that’s how we roll. Lucky me;)
(PS: I bet a few of my wishes will come true really soon. Focus on what you want, peeps. Not on what you don’t want).
Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and FreedomJunkie™ She helps pasionate people awaken their lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. Her monthly Jedi Juice™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her “Full-On 365” blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting FreedomJunkie.com (note: it’s new look will be up to rock your world soon)!