I remember as a teen-age boy, I would love to sit on my bed during the afternoons when I was home, daydream and then fall into a nice nap. Daydreaming enhanced my imagination and boosted my confidence. (After all, I did strike out Reggie Jackson in the bottom of the ninth inning in game seven of the world series - the Met's finally beating the Yankees. Or accepted an Academy Award for my acting in the Best Movie of the year.)
As a grown up I have always loved the idea of taking an afternoon nap. But I was always concerned about how others would react. The idea of an afternoon nap always signified a sense of laziness or a depression.
I was always fearful about what my wives would think. (I am not a polygamist, I have been married twice).
My current wife actually would tell me to take a nap on Saturdays. (We are Jewish and Shabbat observant, sort of) I would do so and I would make sure she would as well.
The idea of a grown man going to lay down in the middle of the day? Was he lazy? Was he hiding from something? Was she a vampire? (You noticed I made the vampire female? Just checking).
The sense that I was neglecting someone or taking the day for granted, would make whatever nap I would fall into, a restless one. I would immediately wake up and say, "I had a headache or my stomach hurt and I am feeling better now."
During the week? Not happening - that's like George Costanza wearing sweatpants outdoors, just looks like I am giving up.
For the past ten years, I have had the misfortune to be employed and then unemployed several times. I never permit myself to watch TV while I am at home while unemployed or to overindulge in food.
In January of 2020, I started a business called, “The Story of their lives,” I write personal biographies for families - mostly about the grandparents. This is a sort of time capsule for the generations to come to look back on. So my strength is interviewing the subjects and the close group of family, friends and people who have done business with them, etc.
Usually the interviews run around an hour. Then I come back to my home office (I had my basement spot, surrounded by drying laundry, discarded electronics and toys before it was the fashion) and listen to the interview and write down what was said in story form. That process takes around two hours. I love doing this and I want to keep on increasing my business so I can do this full time. You know the wants and hopes usually end up on the floor of the basement among the drying laundry and discarded electronics and toys, overwhelmed by the need to make enough money to do more than just survive.
Back to the theme! I often get tired around three o'clock in the afternoon. I trudge on because I am out of work, not able to collect unemployment (because I have not worked the minimum amount of time) and I don't permit myself to just lay down and rest.
There is a state of depression and wanting to just lay down, to daydream and fall asleep.
In my 20's and 30's I was plagued with depression and panic attacks. I overcame them with medicinal therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. My fear has been that if I take a nap during the day, I will be falling back into that abyss.
Now, as this shitty year leaves out the back exit, I have come to my senses. Although I am still searching for gainful employment I will keep on trying to increase my writing business.
I do get that it is OK to take a nap when feeling rundown and sad. So my goal this year is to permit myself to take a half hour nap if I need to. To meditate twice a day for as long as my brain permits me to. I have come to understand that my mind is on overload and that the depression I feel is valid. It is tiring and sometimes I just need to put reality on the shelf and sit on do a crossword on my phone, or go on social media.
This coming year, I will be accepting of my need to rest a bit when needed, with no guilt or shame attached.
Here's to 2022! Tell 2021 to not slam the door as it leaves, I may be taking a nap.