Have you ever lay awake tossing and turning, unable to sleep? It’s been a long day and you’re tired. It’s like watching a movie, only you’re the star. You turn over in your mind all the bad/cringey/embarrassing things you’ve done pretty much ever. Remember that time you sent the lyrics to “Bittersweet Symphony” to some girl after a date in high school? You didn’t, but now you do. Big things, small things, it doesn’t matter, your brain bought you a one-way ticket to mindfuck city. You’re not sure what you did to deserve this, nor how long you’re on for the ride but there isn’t much to do besides ride the lightning. Should you take a bunch of Dramamine? Rub one out? Perhaps a warm glass of milk?
This used to happen to me a lot. It seemed my brain was most active right before bed. Laying down in bed is the first time during the day that I could decompress and channel my thoughts. Maybe this is my brain’s cue to dunk on me.
After this being a constant struggle for a large part of my life, I’ve come up with a few thoughts to combat the bed time terrors. I took a page out of my good friend Ben Shapiro’s book, using FACTS and LOGIC to DESTROY this wayward human evolution. These two tips have often helped me through the tough times as a frequent rider on “you’re not falling asleep until you recall every bad thing you’ve ever done” train. I’ve learned a few tricks that I am happy to impart on you. They take a little practice, but I’ve found it takes them effective.
To begin, to know something you must BE it. I had to deconstruct situations. Surely, there had to be an easily identifiable time when someone wronged me that they must think about, right? I thought of a few but they were often so stupid, I’d discard them. Then, one day a friend of mine apologized for bailing on a concert. I hadn’t thought about it since that day, but he apologized many times. Then it hit me like the Rock:
It Doesn’t Matter
There are a few lessons from this, namely, we are the main character in our story but there are billions of main characters all over the world. To think your actions effect people to this day is self-centered and realizing this will set you free. I don’t remember what I ate for dinner last Thursday, let alone last night and that was less than a day ago. People are too tired or busy to remember stupid shit. At worst, it becomes an inside joke or meme and everyone likes memes.
Likely, whatever transgression occurred has been long forgotten. If you did something so egregious it is still affecting them, you probably in the clink and not reading this. The point is, let that shit go. A lot of this must be internalized leftover from my Catholic guilt. People make mistakes and we need to be kinder to ourselves. Reliving shitty moments does nothing to move the needle.
The hard truth is that people are generally too busy or too self-absorbed to even remember the minor inconvenience caused years back. For example, I had a friend choke me out wrestling and I cracked my head open. Eight staples and an ambulance trip later, I was good as new. This happened in high school. Every time I’d see the dude, he’d apologize. I hadn’t thought about it until he brought it up again. Life happens.
While “It Doesn’t Matter” often covers the smaller ones, what about the “bad” ones. Well, you’re in luck. Living with a cemetery in view has given me a lot of insight. I see people that died during World War One buried. These poor kids never made it to 25. There’s a Civil War Medal of Honor winner. The guy stole a flag from a Confederate stronghold, how cool is that!? Dude might have been a shitter or a great guy but he never got to ride in a car or see an Adam Sandler movie, can we even say he lived?
So, where’s the rub? No one is getting out of this life alive. Way better (and many more way worse people) have lived, loved, been shit to others and died. I’m sure old Jedediah buried behind me yoinked an inkwell from his neighbor or coveted Myrtle across town when he caught a glimpse of her ankle. The life lesson to remember from this is:
You will be dead someday and it won’t matter
There are no pictures on the scorecard. If you believe in some form of afterlife, there’s going to be shit people there too. The only life lesson I’ve learned on my 30 years is that the world is binary: people either are or are not shit. Wading through the shit is a unique task for the individual. There are currently over seven billion people on this planet. You will never please everyone. Even if you somehow live long enough to see the end of time, the sun will envelop the earth and we’ll all go back to being cosmic space dust again. Maybe we get another whack at it. Who knows, who cares?
Learning from mistakes is as much a learning tool as it is a function, namely, personal growth. I am not the same person I was 10 years ago. I’ve been a shitty boyfriend, held beliefs that are opposite to what I believe now and many other things that I sometimes cringe. That’s life, we aren’t born perfect nor will we ever be but beating yourself up for learning is a fool’s errand. And quite honestly, if you’re thinking about high school 10 years ago, you better go get your Eclipse’s oil changed and pick up your Letterman’s jacket from the dry cleaner, you loser.