Monthly Archives: December 2019

New Year Wishes

May your last few hours of this year be relaxed and happy, whether that be reveling with family and friends or snuggled up on the couch in pjs.

May your new year be filled with triumphs big and small.

May you have enough challenge that the above triumphs mean a lot to you.

May those who are mean to you develop recurrent hives.

May your teams win, unless they’re playing against the University of Michigan. Or unless your team is Ohio State or Notre Dame.

May your family members tease you about your teasable traits, and may you come back with your comebacks in the moment, not hours later in the shower.

May you find really good recipes that make kale, quinoa, and other stuff that’ll make you live forever taste good enough that you don’t want to die while eating it.

May you see a bunch of really good movies and read a bunch of really good books.

May your favorite Netflix series be renewed for another season.

May you spend enough time in the mountains or on the ocean or in the woods or on a lake or in the city or whatever floats your boat. Figuratively. I know mountains, woods, and cities don’t float boats. Well, Seattle and Venice float boats. But I digress.

May you breathe, love, and laugh deeply.

May the children in your life provide you with multiple moments you’ll tell their dates about in the future.

May your arguments change someone else’s opinion, and may someone else’s arguments change yours.

May you find physical exercise that relieves your stress and makes you stronger. Unless you’re on a Notre Dame or OSU team (see above) – then the stress relief wish holds, but not the making you stronger part.

May the people you spend long times in the car with enjoy the same music you do.

May you dance.

May you sing.

May you learn.

May you grow.

And again, because I cannot stress this one enough, may you laugh.

Happy New Year.



A Pleasant Touch of Insomnia

I can’t sleep. It happens sometimes. So I’m downstairs in my parents’ house, reflecting.

Today I’m not annoyed at being awake this early, where normally I would be. Normally, when I do this early-wake-up thing (one of the joys of the hormonal changes of getting older that no one really warned me about), I look at the clock and get really pissed off. I lie there angrily, sometimes for a couple hours, until it’s time to get up. I play with my phone. You know, exactly what I tell my patients not to do.

I stayed up too late last night. I do this frequently when we’re all together. My son’s friend, who is with us for this trip, described it just as I experience it – wanting to be with people means he stays up way later than he should. I, too, am fueled by being with people. At least with people I care about. I probably wouldn’t want to stay up late hanging out with a bunch of assholes. But when it’s MY people, the draw of the social connection is stronger than the draw of my bed. It’s actually stronger than any other draw I can think of.

The four boys and I (and yeah, the “boys” range in age from 18 to 23, and they’re fully men, but from what I can tell about myself, I will always refer to them as the boys or the kids or the babies) went skiing/snowboarding yesterday. It was fantastic – conditions were perfect. It wasn’t crowded, the temperature was in the mid-to-upper-20s, the view was beautiful, the snow was great, and the feeling of flying over that snow was everything it always is. And it was physically exhausting – in that every-muscle-system-got-a-workout, got-my-heart-rate-up-for-hours, laughed-enough-that-my-abs-got-even-more-workout kind of way. So I was tired. I needed a good night’s sleep.

Around one a.m., I fell asleep in front of a movie we were watching together. That happens frequently – the family is together, we’re happy, and I feel so relaxed and content that I just fall asleep while watching a favorite. And of course the being-tired-from-staying-up-too-late probably plays a part. Movie was over around 1:20, and I went to bed and fell asleep next to Doug. A deep, contented, tired, good sleep.

And then I woke up at 6:30.

I talk to my patients all the time about sleep. I talk to my weight loss clients about it as well. I talk to my kids about it. It’s so basic, and yet so many of us don’t do it right.

We just don’t get enough. Adults really do need about 8 hours. It helps with brain functioning. We’re sharper when we sleep well. It helps maintain healthy cortisol levels. Our metabolism works better when we’ve had enough sleep. Our stress levels are better. Our blood pressure is better.

When we don’t sleep well, we don’t function at our prime. We handle stressful situations with less resilience. We put on weight. We don’t remember things as well. Our bodies and minds aren’t at their best.

And I’ve just had a 5-hour sleep.

But this morning I’m enjoying it. I am fully content. There are seven people I love sleeping peacefully under this roof. The view outside the window of the pond and trees covered in a light layer of snow is peaceful. I’ll read for a bit. Eventually others will awaken and join me, and we’ll talk politics and movies and music and sports and people. We’ll play games. We’ll eat. We’ll laugh a lot.

And I’ll stay up too late again.

So yes, it would be better for my health not to wake up early like this. But sometimes these late nights and early mornings are good for my soul.