Things, July

Things are a little shaky over at Chez Duprez at the moment. Not in the marriage department but in the motivation and life goal department. I’m feeling a little bit… um… what’s the word? Derailed. There was a lot of momentum and I was going places and I had plans and drive and and and … kablammy! I’ve been pushed off my path and I’m groping to find my way back. But I’m blind, and the trail is hard to find. Any analogy you want, I got it. We watched a documentary this weekend about independent game designers and their journey to publishing a game. It mostly dealt with successful game designers (before they knew things were going to be a hit) but talking to Kamel, who works in games, it turns out that there are hundreds of indie gamers and they only make it really really big maybe 5% of the time. Some of them make moderate money (maybe 40k?) and the rest possibly… fail. While watching this documentary I got the fear. These people are all working 100 hour weeks, sacrificing relationships and daylight in order to get their dream and their passion handled. And I start worrying: is that what it takes to succeed? But… I want a full life, I want to succeed in lots of different aspects. Only one of them is my career doing something I love and I feel good at. I also want to have time to take walks through the neighborhood with my husband and online shop with my far away friends and have a family and do fun things like travel. What happens if I don’t have what it takes to sacrifice myself for something that I really want? What if I don’t want it enough. This is where I am right now. [Insert massive sigh here]

Kamel and I are switching up our sides of the bed. We did this once before when I stopped sleeping well on the side that I picked as mine. At first I sleep amazing in my nook of nooks. But then I get to used to it? Or I lose my sweet spot? Either way I begin to flop around like a turtle on its back. We now call this phase Turtling (And no, this has nothing to do with poop, thank you urban dictionary). As in, “Dude, you were seriously turtling all night last night. That has got to stop.” Kamel sometimes turtles but mostly he does what I refer to as “Climbs the walls”. He begins pushing his pillow against the headboard with the force of his body and suddenly he is like all up there, his head and neck sort of hunched over towards is stomach and his whole body is aiming to become a big O. When I see this I poke him or push him to wake him up and then tell him to, “Scoot down, scoot scoot scoot scoot scoot,” as I fix his pillow for him. When I don’t notice or I ignore him he ends up sleeping like shit, not knowing why and then the world fucking ends. What are your sleep patterns with your partner? Do you have sides? Do you ever switch? How do you handle that shared space?

This last weekend it was really hot so everyone in our apartment zone had their windows open. This meant prime eavesdropping time. The Chinese family next to us was full on, drag out, arguing and I sat on the edge of the bed and listened to them scream at each other with key English words thrown in like, “FOUNDATION!” until they saw me and shut their window. Womp. Eavesdropping creeper fail. The new non-crazy (yet!) neighbors downstairs had their kid plus their friends come over for the weekend from college. While I was laying on the couch being unproductive I got to listen to all of their singstar song choices and yes, I did really want to be their friend. Listening to the way they talked to each other reminded me of being in college and having the tiniest stresses that I thought were major stresses. But man! To have that kind of privilege! To have the ability to think little shit (like what you’re going to do at the end of the summer) is big shit (like, oh, say… paying rent for realsies) is the BEST! And it made me wonder if every college kid talks the same, sings karaoke the same and makes “Bevmo runs” (a liquor store in CA) the same. In other news, You Know You’re An Old Person When: the kids downstairs wake me up with their benign birthday party at 11:30 and I ask Kamel what time it is to see if they are after curfew and if it’s ok for us to call the cops (in a sleepy haze, mind you!). Kamel just laughed at me and said, “No, they are just having a birthday party and that would be a massive dick move on a Saturday night. Jesus Lauren you are like 108 years old.” Touche. Party on kids, Party on.

11 thoughts on “Things, July”

  1. OMG! You are in my head! I have been having the SAME panic. My writer friend suggested this book recently called Outliers: The Story of Success. The guy talks about all these mega-successful people like the Beatles and Bill Gates and whatnot…and he asserts that success in any field is attributed to at least 10,000 hours of practice. TEN THOUSAND HOURS!!! That is something like 416 straight days. When am I supposed to LIVE? Ahhhh.

    1. I don’t know if I believe this. I just don’t know. I feel like there are people, the geniuses of the world, who devote their whole BEING to a cause or project. But even Steve Jobs or Thomas Jefferson had a family and a life.

      Maybe, just maybe…. there are people who are super successful in their field and the rest of us can just be successful? But we also get to have a life? Either way, I’m choosing life. I think being an overall awesome-sauce is way better than being SUPER awesome in just one thing.

      1. There was some really interesting stuff about Steve Jobs and this sort of thing in this week’s Freakonomics podcast about being a jerk.

        One thing to remember is that just because someone has a family doesn’t mean they see their family very much or have a good quality of life. Sometimes these super successful people have a non-working spouse and/or full time nanny to take care of the day to day stuff. Sometimes they have personal assistants and whatever else. Obviously those people either have money already or have reached a high level of success by that point but I do think many very successful people sacrifice a lot to get there.

        But as you said – maybe we don’t all need to be very successful at our jobs, maybe being moderately successful in a lot of areas works better for some of us.

  2. Confession time – both of our dogs sleep in our bed with us. They are both small, and one of them like to cuddle and steal your warmth, while the other one has her own pillow so she can sleep under it (she doesn’t care for blankets, but NEEDS to sleep under that pillow!). This has lead me and the hubby to each of us having our own comforter. He sweats in any temp over 70, and I am usually chilly, so having our own blankets has stopped him from complaining that I steal all of the covers all of the time. In the winter time we have our own blankets and then throw another blanket or two over those depending on how cold it is (our house is old, and I don’t know if there’s any insulation in it at all – at least it feels that way). I don’t think either of us sleep weird position wise, but we have a California King sized bed so we can stretch out and still have room even though we get assaulted by puppies all the time.

    I miss the days of being able to evesdrop on my neighbors. Ok, that sounds creepy, but you know what I mean. It’s like looking in the windows of a house that you’re walking by because the blinds are open. Just a sneaky peaky into someone else’s world. Or maybe I’m just a creeper 🙂

  3. I’ve been worrying about this a lot lately, especially with articles popping up about “Women having it all” and whatnot, because what if I want to be good at my job, but also be good at LIFE? And not willing to sacrifice my entire life for being good at my job? But I also don’t want life to prevent me being good at my job either. And then I just get a headache.

  4. We switched sides once: Chris slept like a baby and I tossed and turned all night. My pillows didn’t line up the same way and I kept thinking I was going to hit my head on the side table and everything just felt off.

    However, we switch spots at the kitchen table all the time. I like the change in scenery.

  5. I totally get you on the career stuff… at some point I thought I wanted to devote myself to conservation biology, that is until I learnt that you more or less have to be willing to live in a tent, in the middle of the jungle, and be prepared to move around a lot. Where would that have left space for a family, and the kind of fun stuff you mention like discovering places by walking at random in a city?
    With the sleeping stuff… I can more or less sleep anywhere , when I am tired I just drop dead. Mark has that thing where he has to switch sides of bed every now and then, but it is not really a problem because I just adapt. But, it turns out I am a blanket stealer haha or so he says.
    I think you would like it in the Netherlands… people tend to have the windows open and no curtains so you can really take sneak peaks into other people’s living rooms. It is kin of funny and everybody does it. I love to listen to our neighbors little kids running around and playing.

  6. We totally switch sides in the bed all the time. Like, every few weeks, or sometimes every couple of months, but definitely with some frequency. I don’t know why we started it- but it feels really right to us. And I never thought I’d like that, because I used to always sleep on the same side of my full size bed in college – so go figure!

  7. Oh, the sleeping arangements. If we mess with them at all, we both sleep badly (which is funny, considering how I can usually sleep anywhere).

    The side of my body I sleep on, though, changed after my accident. I was a left-sider, and after 6 months of not being able to lay that way while I healed, I’m most comfortable on my right. Go figure.

    While moving this weekend, though, there was visual proof of how we sleep. You know how a well-worn mattress will almost take the shape of the bodies that sleep on it? Well, you could tell exactly how we each sleep … and see that we hardly ever touch while sleeping (there was a big space in between our indentations).

    At first, this made me a little weepy … but then I figured, might as well keep the cuddles for when we’re awake to enjoy them!

  8. Bunny and I switch sides of the bed every now, and it drives both of us nuts to do it. The way we’re currently set up by necessity has the bed pushed against the wall, and we keep our cell phones/alarm clocks on the other side. Both of us prefer to be closer to the outside; he wakes up earlier than me and it’s a hassle for him to climb over me, and I’m blind as a bat without my glasses and have trouble sleeping and I like to be closer to the alarm clock. So whenever one of us is totally fed up, we switch sides.

    As far as the fear surrounding chasing the career dream … I can totally understand that. It’s one of the reasons that I backed off from a lot of my more “high powered” career goals, because consider other areas of success to be more fulfilling and I don’t want a job to get in the way of that. It’s hard balancing those aspects and figuring out which values take precedence when.

  9. i just went through a really rough “what am i DOING?!?!?!” patch around work. i work odd hours and most weekends and all holidays. my friends hate it…i see it as putting in my time. hopefully it pays off. the idea of a career in this day and age seems so out of reach. i feel as if i’m floundering and flopping all over the place. now that i have almost 2 years with this company, i feel some sort of movement. i’m going to get to the point where i WON’T work the odd hours or holidays or weekend all the time. i can have a life then, right? i hope so.

    oh and the side of the bed issue is interesting in our house. i need blankets and covers and space and nook-age. M is like the nightly star of a giant rock extravaganza — ALL OVER THE PLACE. it makes sleeping tough, but we manage. maybe swapping sides is something we should look into.

    ps – saw Batman this weekend. ate WAYYYY too much candy. thought of you, because i know you would have understood the need for gummy AND chocolate AND sour…i mean, options!

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