I love the work that Christina Rasmussen is doing to change the way we live after loss. I’m so curious about how we handle grief and so happy people like Christina are changing our stories and teaching us new skills. She’s the founder of Second Firsts and the author of Second Firsts: Live, Laugh and Love Again and a lovely person to know about.
No Sleep. Just Life. 24 Hours Straight.
A few weeks ago I had an experience that impacted me in ways I did not expect. This kind of experience is not on a bucket or goal list. It is not something that you think of as a good thing. I certainly wouldn’t think that no sleep would give me an out-of-the-box experience and memory that would impact my life.
You see, I spent 24 hours without any sleep a few weeks ago.
Not even an hour.
Not even 5 minutes.
Well, maybe I dozed off for a couple of seconds around 4:30am, while navigating my way from Philadelphia to Boston after a cancelled flight.
I tried to remember the last time I stayed awake all night long.
And I couldn’t remember. I really couldn’t.
Even when my husband was dying and I was right next to him for hours, I would sleep for a few moments and then wake myself up startled.
Even that night, I was not without any sleep. The night I didn’t want to ever end I had fallen asleep. From exhaustion.
Then I went further back in my life and I still could not find a night without sleep.
I could not find a night where I saw the sunrise, dressed with the clothes of the day before. A night that your soul travels so far and she forgets TIME, which lifetime she is in or where she needs to be next.
Surely I have traveled the globe so many times, there had to be a 24 hour day, but you would find me catching sleep on a window of a plane, on a bus, as a co-passenger in a car.
But that night a few weeks ago the goal was not to fall asleep.
I had to stay awake and drive to Boston.
I propped myself up, had coffee and threw some water on my face.
I even sang along with the music on the radio.
My eyes stayed open for 24 hours.
And I didn’t break.
Yes I was tired but inspired.
And this is what happened next.
I felt younger.
I know it is so silly to say this.
But so true.
I felt youthful.
I felt funnier.
I laughed harder.
I looked messier.
Messy with life.
I felt like the woman I was in my 20s, where I could have stayed up all night and it would not have been a big deal.
You might wonder why would I write about this.
I JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU THAT YOUTH CAN COME BACK IN THE MOST UNEXPECTED WAYS.
When we realize we won’t break if we do something that physically pushes our limits. It doesn’t have to be a sleepless night; it can be a bold dress or a really brightly painted wall. Or even a sprint to the end of your driveway.
The options and choices to push ourselves are so many. So many that we can feel alive every day in many different ways.
When we get messy and do not worry about the way we look.
When we dare to be silly and funny, and laugh with our own jokes.
When we take an inconvenient situation and make it an adventure.
When we stop taking ourselves so seriously.
We get younger. We live more. We become timeless.
I made a promise to myself that night.
THAT EVERY DAY I WILL DO SOMETHING THAT WILL MAKE ME FEEL UNBREAKABLE.
One day I hope you will forget which chapter you are living, what time it is and whether you need to go to bed or not.
There will be no real time, no real end.
Just a continuous loop of living.
Here’s to your youth.
And to your 24-hour experience!
With no sleep but with so much living,
What a new way of looking at getting younger! I’ll keep this in mind the next time I’m in a situation that I would usually get crabby about. Thanks so much, Christina.