Choices, community, Things I Can

78. Things I Can Wear: This Garment of Ours

While work hours declined dramatically during the first half of the twentieth century, thanks to higher wages, economic growth, trade unions, and progressive legislation, they have increased during the last three decades. Americans now work an average of one extra month per year than they did in 1980, and single mothers work an extra six weeks. Employees often work overtime and outside their job descriptions for fear of losing their jobs if they refuse. Cutbacks and downsizing have further increased workloads, making it all the more necessary to operate at the top of one’s game all day long, without any lapses. Fear of what one night of lost sleep could do to one’s appearance and performance the next day has become a common concern.

Kat Duff in The Secret Life of Sleep

We know it is zip code and native tongue, it is the body that houses the name. It is a solid school building and a safe walk there. It is scouts and sports and skate parks and dance troupes with coaches as supplemental mentors. It is a small stack of cards: library and HMO, towing and voting, ID and credit. It is the transcript and the stamp of the alma mater, and the names of the friends collected in those four years. It is the legs and the shoes at the bottom of them, it is a specialist with attention enough to notice the gap and intervene early, it is refrigeration, it is screened windows, it is the magnetic attraction of luck to fortune already acquired. It is all of this as water to a clownfish.  Continue reading “78. Things I Can Wear: This Garment of Ours”

Fitness, Things I Can

77. Things I Can Honor: The Body’s Cry

Sleep is one of the most important predictors of how long you will live — as important as whether you smoke, exercise, or have high blood pressure or cholesterol. . . Unhealthy sleep remains American’s [sic] largest, deadliest, most costly, and least studied health problem.

Sleep scientist William Dement in Secret Life of Sleep by Kat Duff

It’s possible to plug my ears and soldier on, but who’s the hero of that story? Push too hard for too long and you end up with blistered hands and a dead battery.

The weary frame begs for rest.

This family, this work, this creature living out her days in this one-and-only body has to release her stranglehold on momentum. It turns out that the slick promise of Forward Harder Better More actually pays out in stumbling weakening poisoning collapse.

What we knew once we can know again:

Sweet dreams invite sweeter days.

I return to chapter one to learn this lesson all over again.

Last night, I clocked eight hours. Tonight I will do the same.