Friday, March 8, 2013

The knee knows

On Tuesday afternoon, my knee said to me, quite simply: snow.

It was on one of the many trips I made up and down the stairs in my building, between my office and the next floor down, where our mailboxes and copy machine and water cooler and coffee machine and bathroom are. It was not a loud message, and it was not repeated. It was plain, and just once, but it definitely was.

I doubted my knee. It was only raining at the time, and didn't feel cold enough for snow. Turns out, I should not have doubted my knee. Also, it has a way better track record than any weather forecaster out there: every single time it says "snow," we get snow within 24 hours. This has been going on for, oh, more than 30 years now. (!!!)

(view out the front window, Wednesday, March 6th, dawn)

 (view out the back window, Wednesday, March 6th, dawn)

 (view out the kitchen window, Wednesday, March 6th, dawn)

So that started me thinking about some of the other ways I doubt or don't listen to or ignore my body, ways that I tell it: I don't believe you (no matter how right you are).

Lately, most often I ignore my body when it tells me I need sleep. (This is not good, I know.) Most often it's because I need to finish my homework--prepping for class the next day (reading the text or writing a lesson plan), maybe grading, or organizing other non-class things that need to happen (usually this involves being on e-mail). There's an urgency in getting that work done that allows me to ignore my body.

But sometimes, on the nights when homework is less urgent, I get this feeling I used to get as a kid, where I really, really want to stay up and watch some teevee or hear what the grownups are talking about. (I think the closest equivalent nowadays to listening what the grownups are talking about is looking to see what's happening on FaceBook or Twitter.) I feel that if I go to bed, I will miss something. And I don't want to miss anything! I want to be part of the party! I want to be part of the conversation--at least to listen to it!

Sometimes, on those nights, I'm able to limit the stay-up-past-my-bedtime time to one show or just a little time online; but sometimes it's as if no amount of time doing those things is going to satisfy that yearning. Somehow, I need to figure out, on those nights, how to convince my younger self that a) we are not missing anything, and b) we'll feel much better tomorrow if we just go to sleep. (Usually, though, my younger self is not a very good listener. Must figure out how to talk to it more effectively... Maybe I could convince it that the chance to come up with some interesting dreams will be entertainment enough? or a different kind of "let's see what's going on elsewhere" kind of activity?)

I hope you are getting enough sleep where you are, and that you make your way safely through whatever kind of weather you've got. Listen to your body.


(Edited to add: today, two days later, the snow is melting, the sun is out, and everything around me says spring is coming... I have been feeling the undeniable urge to dance! dance! dance! Okay, now I'm listening, body. Let's dance around the kitchen! Let's GO!)

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