Insomnia struck me again Monday night. We went to bed around 11:20, which when you factor in that I had been awake since 7:00 AM and had gone for a three mile run in the afternoon, should have been late enough for me to lay down and be comfortably asleep within 10-15 minutes. Not that night, though. Thoughts bounced through my mind, my mental stereo changed songs every few seconds, and I lacked the ability to relax (I generally know I won’t be sleeping anytime soon if my mind jumps among thoughts and background music like a caffeine fiend flipping a remote). So I came downstairs and half-typed a post that seemed to be going nowhere, then surfed for about an hour while I drank a stout to calm the system. It was roughly 2:00 before I was finally able to fall asleep.
Insomnia is nothing new to me; I’ve suffered from Sunday Insomnia my entire life. That’s what I call the lack of rest on Sunday nights after my sleep schedule has been altered over the previous two nights. The weird thing about that, though, is on Monday mornings I’m never tired. My body has stored up enough sleep and I can get away with 4-5 hours of sleep for one night. I’m one of the few people who wake up in a better mood on Monday morning than Friday (that should not be mistaken for some strange desire to get to work on Mondays). I’ve had periods of more extensive insomnia throughout my life as well but I’ve learned to embrace those spells: read books, watch some movies, find ways of using the extra time to my benefit and understand that after a few nights, I’ll wear down and get back into a regular routine.
What’s caused the current bout? Life changes are the most logical basis. Even though I’m quite excited about becoming a father, it’s going to be a massive life change. There’s lots of night before Christmas-type excitement involved, there’s also plenty of subconscious trepidation in there too. Monday night, though, I was kept awake by something a few of you know about that I can finally publicly reveal. My employer informed me, and everyone else in my position, in late June that our role was being eliminated. On the surface, that’s awful news. What a time to lose your job, right before you’re about to become a parent! For me, however, in many ways it’s a blessing. I have a month scheduled off in which I can spend lots of time working on my resume, sending it out, and networking. I can spend the time bonding with my daughter discovering what it is that’s really important to me as I carve out the next steps in my career path. Most importantly, after six and a half years with the same company, I was already feeling the itch to do something different.
Since it is, all things considered, a positive step, I’m not stressing about the change. I am, however, having a hard time determining how to plot my first steps. Some people are blessed with a gene that allows them think about their career three steps ahead of where they are today, leaving them prepared for the unexpected and building towards something greater. I tend to lose myself in what I’m doing, whether I enjoy it or not, and have a tough task at review time when I’m supposed to write down what my goals are. Now I’m forced into a situation where I have to examine my values, discover what pleases me, and create a new set of goals. It’s exciting, but a bit frustrating at the same time.
There is still a chance that I will remain with my current company. They are making an effort to place as many of us as possible in new positions (no doubt so they can avoid using the term “layoff” or “job cut backs” in an election year when a board member’s wife just happens to be running for office). I’ll be exploring those options over the next few weeks, but odds are favorable that I’ll either emerge from my paternity leave unemployed, or with a new job.
So what was I doing while battling insomnia and nerves Monday night? Examining websites of two local universities, doing some early research should my process lead me back to school. (There’s a blog poll: What should I study? Talk about fun for the loyal readers and the interlopers alike!!) I checked out websites of a couple retail stores that I enjoy making purchases at to see if there were career opportunities there. And being the geek I am, I examined used iBooks in case I do decide to continue my education and need a laptop to cart around!
Changes. Like last summer, I’m trying to pack as many large ones into as small a time frame as possible, although in this case one of them wasn’t totally planned by me. Is it any wonder I can’t sleep?
Note: I’m intentionally not mentioning my employer by name at this time. This news just began to be released publicly Tuesday, and I don’t to be responsible for clients to find it in an accidental Google search, nor do I want to disparage the company while I’m still receiving paychecks from them. Should anyone comment, I ask you to please refrain from using the name as well.