Nightly Expectations

When I think about my goals for the week, I naturally find myself reflecting: “I wonder how many of them I will actually be able to do.” Like most people, I have some level of awareness that days can — and will be — disrupted.

From sickness to low energy to sudden administrative emergencies, we generally appreciate that life sometimes throws our plans out the window, and while we might not put an exact time buffer on our calendar to account for them, we usually adjust well enough to them up to a certain degree.

So much for days and weeks — but what about our nights? When I wake up with a headache, I’m inclined to feel genuinely rattled. When I spend a good chunk of the night lost in thought instead of dreams, that can reverberate throughout the entire rest of the day.

But even though less happens at night than during the day, a night, too, can go badly. The fact that the plan — to sleep peacefully for around eight hours — doesn’t change will not protect said plan from occasionally going up in flames.

Nobody expects to wake up from a nightmare, or with a pounding head, or too tired to get up at the time they intend to. Yet these things, just like rush hour traffic, slow checkout ladies, and unexpected phone calls, happen every day. Perhaps we should adjust our nightly expectations.

You’re a trooper when it comes to navigating the entropy of everyday life. You fight distractions, swerve around obstacles, and shoulder detours like a pro. Take your bedtime disturbances in equal stride. Don’t let a groggy return to the real world detract you from your mission, or at least not from the spirit with which you intended to approach it when you went to bed.

Lower your nightly expectations. Plans are cheap at any time of day, and the important part is that you keep driving — even when it’s dark.