Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Little Secret

A student announces that she's no longer drinking.  At the beginning of the semester, she tells us she's known for partying, but today, she wants to stop it all.  We cheer for her.  Suddenly, the class feels like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.  I don't mind at all.

I tell her that my husband and I aren't drinkers.  In disbelief, she smiles and asks, "You aren't?  Really?"  Other students chime in that they, too, have abandoned the drinking scene.  Here we are, at one of the top party schools in the nation, and some students opt out.

They're seniors.  It's a lifestyle they can no longer sustain. 

"I need to know more people like you," she says to them.  She needs to be able to imagine a world where people have nothing to recover from in the morning.

All day, I ponder choices I make that I need to recover from.   It's not just over-consuming.  Something as simple as staying up too late makes the morning horrible.  Last night, I sit down to work, and I realize how sleep-deprived I am from the night before.  Instead of working, I could get a good night's sleep.

So I go to bed.  Early.  

My choice to sleep seems profoundly spiritual.   I wake up without needing to recover.

I love that my students are thinking about the kinds of living they can sustain.  They make me think deeply about my own choices--what I can sustain for well-being, and what I can't sustain and harms me--everyday. 

I want to wake up without needing to recover.  That's another secret for health and mood:  if I need to recover from the night before, I wasn't living with flair.


Meghan said...

that's awesome. not needing to recover from the day before! I feel unaccomplished if I start Monday feeling like I need to recover. My boyfriend shakes his head at me when I'm in bed reading at 830pm, but I have goals and I get things done at 6am, not at 10pm.

steveb said...

The benefits of not drinking are similar to the benefits of being vegetarian: your body chemistry remains stable and in its top-performance state.

I stopped drinking in my thirties when my job demanded that I have a clear head from the get-go in the morning.

Now whenever I drink, I ask myself if the drink is worth the price I will pay in downtime (hangover, physical recovery) the next day. In other words, each drink over a certain amount (for me, that amount is quite low) costs me a piece of my next day. Ten times out of ten, I opt for alcohol-free socializing and enjoying the bright morning sunshine.

Eyvonne said...

A beautiful observation that contains truth for everyone, not just students.

Nicole said...

Heather, I actually sat down to a late-night writing project this week and thought, "I feel fine but I will pay for this all week." Listening to our bodies and choosing rest is so important! Thanks for bringing that to light with this post!