To paraphrase Billy Joel: it’s 4am on a random day, the regular crowd shambles in, insomnia’s sitting next to me – worn like a loose second skin.

Technically,  insomnia is characterised by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep as long as desired, by waking too early in the morning and/or feeling tired when one wakes. Despite my best efforts, my shopping basket has come to include all of those items. On the upside, the house is very quiet in the early morning and I generally find that most conducive to creative ramblings and/or catching up on work stuff – so all is not lost.

I usually have something bumbling around in my head when I wake up at oh-my-goodness o’clock – and I mean other than “aargh – it’s oh-my-goodness o’clock – again.” This morning was no exception. With the end of my current work contract in sight (at the end of October), my thoughts are turning increasingly to what I’ll do with what people are referring to as ‘all that extra time’ I’ll apparently have heaps of. All too frequently I’m asked what I plan to do with myself, whether I’ll be going on a long trip, if I intend to hunt for a new job, and so on.

The answer to all and each of those questions appears to be what my brain stews over when I am asleep, although no particular clarity has emerged so far. In essence, and unless I have an early morning epiphany, my plan is to take three months off to contemplate the question. I’d like to get creative in my art shed, garden and kitchen, to finish some projects and start some exciting new ones, to ride my bike and go to the beach more regularly and to generally relax a little. Perhaps even a lot. The New Year will, I feel, be quite soon enough to wrestle with bigger questions – and by then 4am will hopefully be something I know  about, but don’t experience in person quite so often.

In the interim, staying up late, using earplugs to drown out the chickens and determinedly snuggling down when I wake up is helping somewhat: my wake up time is gradually stretching out and I’m feeling more perky as a result. Or could it be that the end of October is approaching and I’m already winding down…?

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