The well-meaning people who tell you to ‘push through’ and ‘establish sleeping patterns early’ are the same people who tell you they take a punnet of blueberries on the plane to give themselves a vitamin boost mid-flight. And you can do this. You can push through, stay awake, go to sleep, nap for an hour, nap for 25 minutes then go for a jog,not nap at all and trick your body into thinking it’s totally awake. You can eat blueberries and wheatgrass and oil capsules and avoid alcohol with your sludge in tin foil at dinner time and knock back 3 litres of water instead. You can take a special pillow and sleeping pills and pass out for the entire flight. But the fact of the matter is – flying in economy is shit, the subsequent jet lag is shit and the only thing that makes you feel better is time.
So give it to yourself. I say, give yourself a week and during that week, sleep when you feel tired, eat when you feel hungry and day by day your own body will sort itself out. It’s pretty good at doing that. It will eventually figure out when the sun is shining and when it isn’t and recalibrate its very adaptive rhythms to suit. That’s what it does. That’s what we do – we adapt. We find ourselves in places where the music is different and the sun and moon have their own schedule and we learn, quickly, to dance. We figure out the new steps, or remember the old, forgotten ones, with remarkable speed because we can, because we must. That is, in its essence, what this is all about, isn’t it. Getting used to one thing just as it morphs into quite another. Things are constantly new, genuinely, or because the forgotten resurfaces and it takes a few beats to remember how we dealt with it last time.
But we get there. We just have to give it time.
I have to give this time. I need to stop panicking when things don’t happen instantly, stop thinking people are shaking their heads and tut-tutting at this apparent lack of definition to Now. I need to let things sort themselves out, acknowledge I can only do so much, the rest must happen and it will happen and when it does, there will be greater clarity, greater understanding. I need to remember I have been here before, I know these steps, and things worked out last time and they will do it again.
But it’s never easy, is it, to wait. To ‘wait and see’ is both liberating and frustrating. Liberating because so much is beyond your control and frustrating for the very same reason. But we must remember – I must remember – while we’re waiting and seeing, our bodies and minds are listening to the music and learning the new or remembering the old, forgotten steps.
And before long, we’ll be dancing until the end of this song.