I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in, maybe, a month. My four-year old likes to wait until about midnight and then come downstairs and climb into bed with us, and he’s not quiet about it. When it’s not him, it’s the cats. We have three kittens, and they wait until after the lights are out to race around the house at maximum cat-speed. I’m surprised the cats haven’t broken anything yet (it’s only a matter of time), and I wonder if it’s child abuse to put a child-proof doorknob on the inside of my younger kids’ bedroom door (it probably is).
I don’t say that to garner pity. None of this was forced on me, and, during the day, all of the frustration at being woken up in the middle of the night disappears. The lack of rest, however, makes writing harder.
I heard a pretty good analogy a while ago, and I think my sleep deprivation fits it. They say that life is like a treadmill: If you want to stay where you are, you have to run, but to get ahead, you have to sprint. Adding anything to life requires a bit of sprinting, and a new writing project is no different. I’m running to take care of my family with my regular job (I’m writing this at my desk at work), and waking up in the middle of the night makes that more challenging. Add the need to maintain a website and create content for it, and the challenge increases.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to get famous from this website. I don’t want to be a household name, but I do want to entertain people, to give them something that’ll take their mind off how hard life is for five minutes, and to tell stories. Sleep deprivation, having kids, and regular life complicates that.
But I do it anyway. I write because I love to tell stories. I love to entertain people. It’s my passion, my mission, and my goal, so I write. And that’s the way it is with anyone’s passion. It starts as a hobby, and if we want it to go anywhere beyond that, we need to accept that it’s going to be hard for a while. In the military they call it “embrace the suck”. Any time we add anything to life, it’s going to suck for a little while. The only way out is through, so we put on our big kid pants, grit our teeth, and embrace the suck.
The four-year old will learn to sleep through the night in his own bed, and the kittens will calm down, but tonight, so if I’m, going to survive, I’d better figure out how to deal with it. I have to embrace the suck because that’s the cost of growth. Today’s tough, but it’ll get easier.
I’ll work through the hard moments, and I hope you will, too. We can run to stay where we are, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s admirable, in fact, to do whatever’s necessary to take care of our households and families. But if we want to get ahead, we need to sprint, and no matter how much it sucks or whatever obstacles are thrown in our way, we have to embrace it and keep going.
We’ve already come this far, don’t quit now.