I am a Gold Medal Contender in Sleeping Around.
I wish the Olympics were a little more open minded.
People have physical talents that go beyond the Sporting "S-Club" of Speed, Strength or Stamina. Let's have some medals for Sass or Style or Savoir Fair....
I dream... and to be honest... I wouldn't get a medal for any of those either... but... I would LOVE to see them pursued competitively.
That would be sport that even I would pay to view.
As it stands (or realistically lies) I only have one physical talent that would be podium worthy in the Open-Minded S-Club Olympics and that is my unswerving ability to sleep anywhere, at any time, in any place.
(Perhaps not where you thought this was going... !).
It started when I was a child...
Actually no... it started as soon as I was born.
I was the baby that couldn't cry.
I just slept and smiled.
It turned out my tear ducts didn't work, and I had to have an operation to activate them so I could see properly. However, fixing my tear ducts made zero impact on my temperament - I still slept and smiled. Only difference after the op was that I slept, smiled... and... could now see.
Which was nice.
My Dad always tells people how I am the only child he has ever known who asked to go to bed. No ifs, no buts, no maybe laters. At 1800 hours I would be ready and waiting in my PJs to go to bed to sleep. It didn't matter what wonderful activities were in play at the time... bedtime was bedtime, and I looked forward to it. It was odd behaviour for a small child I guess but the joyfulness of sleeping is something that I have always valued, and it has stayed with me my whole life.
I guess reading that last paragraph you may now have me pegged as a cosy, homely, woman who likes to curl up under an eiderdown with a warm drink and a good book. Well, I admit, I enjoy all those comforts, but none of them are necessary for me to get a good night's sleep.
As the title of this article states: I "Sleep Around."
Willingly and wantonly.
Truth is... I really do get about.
Let me give you some examples...
I used to help organise all night raves, which I would attend after a full day of lectures and a twilight shift at work. I would stay out all night with nowhere planned to sleep and simply crash out at a friend's place... often just on the floor... anywhere... somewhere... wherever there was space. Then... I would wake up, refreshed, and go again.
No hangover. No troubles.
When travelling with work I would fasten my belt on a plane, roll a jumper around my neck and sleep until we landed. I would wake up at my destination ready to attend whatever meeting or night out I was scheduled to be at.
Flight Attendant: Thank you for listening to our inflight safety instructions.
Me: No Problem. Goodnight and see you in Istanbul.
(Side Note: The ability to sleep through a journey is a wonderful use of time.)
I don't even need to be inside, or under cover, to get a good night's sleep. A couple of years ago I raised money for homeless shelters by sleeping outside. A few of us slept on the concrete in the cold November rain in Northern England, with nothing but warm clothes and sleeping bags for shelter. I woke up at dawn with the friends I had slept out with laughing at me because everyone else had packed up and left as soon as possible, having been unable to get a proper night's sleep. I on the other hand, despite the cold and the wet, had given it big Zs all night. I got up, showered, and went to work.
I have slept above the clouds in the Andes, in a Swag-Bag in the Australian Outback, on benches in bus shelters, on beaches, on grass verges at the side of the road, in the middle of nightclubs... I have even slept on a pallet of kitchen roll in the middle of a grocery shop floor but that is a whole other story altogether.
And YES... I know how annoying that is for many people.
Sleeping well is a privilege.
It is a freedom that nobody fully appreciates... until it has gone.
Thankfully, most of us only experience short spells of insomnia or sleep-deprivation. Late nights due to work... or emergencies... or illness. Nobody enjoys or is immune to these stresses. Not even me... the self-confessed "Queen of Sleep". I hate sleep deprivation as much as the next person. That feeling of walking 5 paces behind myself like I am having an outer-body experience. My thoughts tripping over themselves lost in the bewilderment that comes with exhaustion. The frustration of second-guessing my actions because my reactions and memory are slower and dulled. The anxiety that starts to creep in with self-doubt...
...and then spirals
Oh...Sleep. Beloved. Under-appreciated. Sleep.
Come back and soothe me.
And here... right here... is the place where gold medals should be awarded.
Every person who can recover their sleep after a load of depression has landed on them or anxiety has swiped at them... every single person who struggles... and still goes for the win... each of them deserves a gold medal.
Having a natural ability to sleep means nothing. Well done me... here have an Olympic medal for being great at something you don't need to really try at.
That is not a sport. Where are the obstacles? Where is the fight?
Yawn... I am already nodding off.
Gold medals should not go to people like me. They should go to those who have pursued dreams against all odds. People who live without peace of mind, for whatever reason, but still manage to function, to try, to care, to give... these people need medals.
I come from a position of strength.
I resolve to be whole-heartedly grateful for this gift.
Like every person who lives in a place of strength my resolution must be to help others, to support, and to care where I can.
I already live in a dream world.
My resolution now... to help others dream well too.