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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Stewart

The Bright Side - Thoughts by a Sleep Deprived Mack

So lately, I have been struggling to sleep, which wouldn't usually bother me so much, but I have set a goal to get a minimum of 8 hours a night, and it's hard to do that when I sit and stare at the ceiling for what feels like hours. In all honesty, it's probably only minutes, but exaggerating it makes me feel a little better.

When I lie awake for this long, there is often something on my mind I can't quiet, and it keeps my head spinning, not focused on the task at hand, which is sleep. I feel like this is a normal occurrence for most people, but in case it's not here is my list of reasons why my mind won't shut off. My mind has been spinning about careers, income, ways to better my life, ways to better the lives around me, how to make my mark on the world, how to grow what I already have, how to accomplish my list of goals, how to inspire the next generation, you know, the usual, or at least the usual for me.

I can't quite put my finger on when this started to become more prevalent, but let me tell you, the last week has been more tossing and turning than actual sleep. I guess I have my dad to thank for this. As a kid, I remember him coming out of his room and talking about his awful sleep. How he just couldn't "quiet his mind," or "turn it off". He was up all night trying to solve the world's problems, which in reality were most likely just family issues or his work problems. When I was little I had this same issue, I couldn't "turn it off," except it used to revolve around the fear of death... and not my death no no, the people around me who I loved, it was their deaths that keep me up worrying and crying. I remember being told countless times that my mom and dad weren't going anywhere, and they would stroke my head until I was calm and no longer hyperventilating from the emotions that were escaping my body. Then they would leave me and tell me to count sheep if I still couldn't fall asleep...

Have you ever tried counting sheep? It’s not as easy as it sounds. First, you have to visualize the sheep, then you have to set a stage on the ceiling with grass and a fence that they can jump, next you have to try to keep track of how many sheep you have visualized, and that’s quite hard when they keep jumping out of the frame you have put on the ceiling. I would and still do lose count at about 30-40, and that's on a good night.

Now I have started listening to the sounds of waves rolling in off the ocean or the wind blowing through trees on a spring evening, and birds singing to each other on a dewy morning. This is less activity for my brain and frankly less frustrating than losing your sheep to the darkness of the ceiling. I find the noise much more helpful, but alas, I am still up at this ungodly hour (4:10) trying to count sheep, but mostly wondering what I can do to improve my life and the lives of those around me.

So instead of spinning into a hole about it, I have decided to write. Bear with me; I am not a writer, but who knows, maybe I'll take a liking to it and find it offers a solution to one of the problems floating through my head.

Some of my thoughts right now are that I have so many exciting Ideas I want to pursue and not enough hours in the day. I feel as though I am overwhelmed by all the possibilities, and drained by giving time to each of them in a limited capacity.

I struggle with choosing just one thing, and it can often bite me in the butt, it is also a wonderful thing though to be able to have such a capacity to dream. If I were to focus on just one thing there would be no "what ifs", I would accomplish the task and be left feeling like I could have done so much more in this life. So here I am trying to find a way to pursue it all. However, I am learning rather quickly that this is what my peers and the professionals mean by "burnout", and I should listen to them as they have learned from experience. But maybe what I should be thinking about now as I lay here, is how do I change the narrative I have been feeling and the hole that consumes me... and I guess that is by choosing to change how I view what life has handed me.

Now, this may surprise you, but these two things are really very simple. One, you can choose to view it as exhausting, negative, soul-sucking, or empty. Two, you can choose to look at it as exhilarating, joyous, positive, or full. I know this may sound silly, and I'm guilty of rolling my eyes, too. However, how we view something is a conscious or unconscious decision. Sometimes, we've been stuck viewing the cup as half empty for so long that it's no longer a conscious decision. But here's the beauty of getting to be conscious in this life: you can choose to make it positive. Sure, it may take a little more time and effort to get there and start making it a conscious habit. But, what great things in life didn't come with a little time and effort?

We can't control what the world, society, life, work, family, or school may throw at us, but we surely get to choose what we take away from it and how we choose to perceive it. So with that being said, I am going to acknowledge that the fact I have so many things I get to worry about it's pretty cool, and I am also going to try and take the worries off my plate that I cannot control... Like making other lives more enjoyable, by living the life I dream of living, I will positively affect the one around me, so I don't need to spend time worrying about if I can do that because it will just happen naturally. I think it's important for us all to take a minute to think about how we view the world. Do we see it for the amazing life and opportunity it is, or has it maybe been a while since we looked at the cup as half full or even overflowing for that matter?

As I write this, I remind myself that there is a purpose for all events that happen in our lives. We sometimes need an empty cup to appreciate a full one or a cup that sits for so long in the middle that we want something to happen to shake things up. We learn from every state our cup is at, and it can't stay at the same point forever. It will eventually evaporate if we do nothing to top it up, or it will dry up completely. When we are tired of that state or thirsty for more, we will fill it. Nothing stays forever, and nothing will last forever. So try to get some sleep and decide that tomorrow will be a brighter day with a much fuller cup.

If you are reading this, I hope you will take a step to not only clear your mind but also choose to fill your cup! Or If you chose to turn off your computer and stop reading, that's also fine. Maybe your positive will be that you didn't have to read the entire thing. But hey, at least that was your choice ;)


To all of you who are sleep deprived <3


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2 Comments


l1stewart
Apr 05, 2023

Love you...love your mind...love your journey...I love you sleeping on the track pic xxoo Linda

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Mackenzie Stewart
Mackenzie Stewart
Jun 02, 2023
Replying to

Thank you!

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