the 2am worries…we all get them

Dec 7, 2020 | Ryan's Blog

WARNING: lots of free flowing monsters in my head in this post!!

Dec 7, 2020 — I normally sleep really well, and I’m deeply grateful for that. My husband doesn’t sleep all that well, so he is usually the one up randomly in the night.

But last night, it was my turn. A disturbance in the Force, kids leaving the kitchen light on at 1:50am (UGH), cats who think it’s fun to rattle things in my room or pounce on my feet…all of those were contributing factors to my less-than-stellar slumber last night.

Once you’re back in bed trying to go back to sleep, it seems that several things are bound to happen in your mind’s eye and several types of brain gymnastics spring into action:
-the lists
-the worries
-the replays

The movie reel starts. And it’s not stopping. I’ve termed it the 2:00am worries. Everything at 2:00am is detrimental. There’s no other option. The whispers in your head are loud because there’s no competition for your attention, except possibly crazy cats or noisy night owl teenagers.

The reel starts innocuously enough as you catalogue out your to do list for tomorrow. But then it switches to a darker station.

The reel plays every single thing you’ve “done wrong” or “failed to do” in your life. It highlights every fear about every person or situation in your life. Not only do you worry or fret over something recent, but here’s where we go years, or even decades, into the past and fault ourselves all over again.

The Zeigarnik Effect. The tendency to focus on what we’ve NOT done over what we actually have done. AKA the glass is half empty syndrome.

So during my 2-3am stretch last night, I had PLENTY of content for my movie reel of failures:
-I got so involved in clearing out the 700 cardboard boxes in my garage that I forgot a meeting I’d planned in my FB group to discuss the nuts n bolts of doing a personal “Year in Review” and I felt I’d let them down
-I didn’t clean out the fridge yesterday so I have no plan for food this week
-I had no energy or attention to contribute to my own Sunday planning for the week, AKA Sunday Basket time, so I’ve basically failed this week before it’s even started
-I’m such a terrible parent that my children are up at 2am fixing themselves something to eat
-Did I even run one load of laundry this weekend?
-you get the idea…

HYPER-FOCUSED on all the perceived failures.

At 2am, it’s quite literally impossible to rip the film out of the player and put in the “Yay Me!” reel…or is it?

-I ripped through our garage this weekend getting out the cardboard, PLASTIC overload, donations, and did a TON of freecycling, making lots of people (and me!) very happy to have stuff I was ready to pass on!
-I sat down with one of my children that resists checking email and facilitated his taking care of some big boxes that needed checking
-I participated a fabulous 5-hr training that will help me FINALLY get some year-long-range planning done in my biz…so many lightbulbs!
-I watched a classic James Bond movie with hubby and middle son that was definitely fun family bonding time
-no one died or starved on my watch…

I can be a positive Polly during the day, and always for others, but at 2am??

That’s the challenge.

So after you’re awake for some extended portion of the night, it’s way more difficult to get up at the regular time, and impossible to get up at that “crack of dawn hit it early because I’m already behind” time, am I right? This morning, I opened my eyes about 45 minutes later than I’d wanted to, and heavy with OMG that was not a great night’s sleep feel. My mind went straight to recounting the night, and telling my hubby all about it…when the CREATIVE INSPIRATION hit.

I write on Monday mornings, early. It’s my juicy creative time. As I was lying there trying to shake off the night’s heavys, telling myself, “today you get to write, so get up!” I was like an uncharged laptop…not spinning up. Then, the INSPIRATION for this blog here:

We spend considerably more time focused on our perceived failures, or things left undone instead of the opposite, more positive practice of recounting what we have, in fact, done…

Imagine if we did this with children who are learning to write their name. What if we focused on the warped and backwards letters, the uneven scrawl, the way they hold the writing implement? Would they seek to keep writing their name if all the feedback they received was about what they were “failing” at? No, they would not!!!

So why do we do this to ourselves?

This is why a Year in Review is imperative every year, but especially this year, 2020. It seems to be news and social media fodder to shine the ugly light and focus on all the tings we can’t wait to “leave behind” in this dumpster fire of a year.

Yes, it was 100% a shit show of the highest ilk. SO MUCH PAIN. Past and current.

But, I can’t say it enough: the LESSONS. The lessons I learned, and I think I’m not alone, are ones I’d NEVER have learned if so many of the 2020 psycho-town things hadn’t happened.

I changed the way I think and act. I opened my eyes on issues I’d thought my eyes were already open to. Both my husband and I completely pivoted the way we operated our businesses in order to keep them alive. I’ve spent way more time and energy seeking ways to contribute outside of my protected and safe bubble. I finally started noticing the way large groups can affect change, both negatively and positively.

It’s too much to even detail right here. But I will. I will sit down and RECEIVE the messages of this year.

In best possible scenarios, I’d go to a hotel and isolate myself from the world, but that is not an option. I will find the most isolated place in my home, though, and tell my family, “hey: I’m doing something important so I’d appreciate the time to not be distracted, thanks.”

I’ll re-read my journals. I’ll look through my calendar and phone’s photos. I’ll NOT check social media, answer the phone or return texts, because it going to be MY TIME. And I can’t freaking wait.

I hope you can find some time, even 15 minutes, just sitting, thinking, and RECEIVING the lessons that ONLY YOU can receive. If you don’t, they’ll be gone.

Each year is like a pie. There’s always the last piece, waiting to be eaten!

(Yes, 2020 has been more like a shit sandwich, but still!!!)

Eat the last piece of pie. And relish it.

Ryan 🙂


My name is Ryan…

I love teaching people how to let go of the crazy and live a less stressful life. My book The CALM Method: A Guide to Ditch Last-Minute Living is full of guidance and tips for you, but the real magic is in our community. The Find FOCUS Membership is a great place to get more done alongside your peeps!!!

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