The sheets are warm in the mornings. They hold me. I can think of many reasons to untangle myself from their embrace—coffee, an earlier start at work, because I fell asleep ten hours ago—but none are compelling. I used to be a morning person, but now nothing seems worthier than sleep. Is there a real word to describe sleep? It should encompass the denotations and connotations of death and imagination, emptiness and fullness, black and blissful.
My cat’s growl-purr is my only warning that she will pounce on my head. And then dash off and then do it again. And again. Her antics are what free me.
Hamilton, the newest musical on Broadway. I play the cast recording in my car, hopelessly trying to rap about a plan to assume states’ debts. Other drivers no doubt get an early morning laugh out of me. I play the album off Amazon when I’m at work, the lyrics up in another window so I can practice.
I work at a cubicle now, a first, and I spend most of my 8 working hours staring at a computer screen. Every click of the mouse is a chore. Recently I had to go into 971 different college courses and click ten different links in order for someone higher up than I to run analyses on the grade reports. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Someone has to do this “work,” and it’s not like anyone else would hire me. It’s a really good thing I have two degrees. Can my brain rot from disuse? How soon will I become a barely-sentient vegetable if I stay in this job? I should probably donate my brain to science now just in case.
A different book every week. Three or four being read at once: a fantasy novel, a book about economics and another on Portuguese culture. Another on the art of being a spiritual mentor. I share book recommendations with friends and with my fiancé. He and I read Calamity side by side: taking turns with the Kindle version. I relive my favorite part days later when another friend messages me.
New white lines being painted onto soccer fields. Collecting bruises. Regaining speed.
Some people live in the past, but I prefer the future. When I slip into bed every night, I am waiting for the next good thing. When I was younger I waited for the Harry Potter book releases. Now it is a wedding. The next trip. A new job. But memories of moments I looked forward to often seem hushed up behind heavy curtains. It’s hard to make memories when you live not for now, but for the next thing. Even if the next thing is better.
Day by day I try to live in the now, but the days are very grey. There is much to look forward to and there is much to see now, if only we can find the courage.
Elaine Schnabel (’11) spent her twenties traveling, blogging, and earning various master’s degrees. Now earning her PhD at the University of North Carolina in organizational communication, Elaine researches and writes at the intersection of religion and communication. You can find her blogging at Religious (Not Crazy).