All week, I’ve been exhausted. Like flat-out, fall-asleep-for-two-hours-at-8PM-sitting-up-on-the-couch exhausted. No volume of coffee has been able to prod me into a state of true alertness.

There are multiple reasons why, I suppose. My daughter is going through some sort of toddler sleep regression, prompting her to pad out of her room a half hour after bedtime to declare, “I’m all done napping,” or cry out at 5AM, “I WANT TO READ A BOOK!” Or the 4:30AM favorite: “I have a boogie.” This, of course, means I am experiencing a sleep regression, as well.

I’m also on the tail end of a massive and lingering head cold that knocked me off my game for a good two weeks. Let me tell you, co-leading a three-hour conference workshop on cold medicine (and flying back from said conference while not on cold medicine) are not experiences I’d like to repeat.

I also feel like I am just getting my feet back on the ground after a crazy fall spent riding a nonstop wave of deadlines, deliverables, presentations, conferences, and travel. The feel of a stable surface below me is comforting, but foreign, and I am still recovering my stride.

All week, the deadline for this column has been looming, like a thundercloud on the horizon. What invaluable system or framework have I developed for understanding my work, or the world around me? What experience, be it extraordinary or mundane, has transformed my perspective forever?

None. This week, I have no insights and I have no systems. I have no solutions to share.

Also, this week, everything seems fragile and uncertain. Everyone, it would seem, is either ignorant and crazy, or essential and unheard. Our values, the gravity that binds us to our purpose as a nation, feel tenuous. The fear and tension in the air is amplified by the gathering chill. And the backdrop of descending grey and bare, gnarled branches isn’t helping things much.

This morning, I looked around and everything just felt old and tired, and I wanted to run away.

But I didn’t.

Because my child will sort out her sleep. My body will heal. I will resume my regularly scheduled program, already in progress. I know these things.

And as precarious and unsettled as the world around us may be, we will carry on. We will challenge the ignorant and hold them accountable for their beliefs, and we will elevate the voices of those who struggle to speak for themselves. We will assert the necessity of our values, and we will not stray from them. We will gather together to fend off the chill, dissolve the tension, abate the fear. We will remember that the grey conceals a blinding, endless blue, and the bare branches are busy cultivating a brilliant bloom. I know these things, too.

I don’t have a four-step approach. I don’t have an epiphany. All I have is the stubborn determination to wake up tomorrow and try to do better.

Dive Deeper

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