Friday, June 29, 2007

Lack Of Sleep

The end of the work week is finally here. The first week back to work after being on vacation always seems longer than it really is. I look forward to the weekend. Even though I am getting older and my children are grown, my life still seems busy. Perhaps it isn't as busy as it seems but only feels that way because I have less energy to deal with my life's current demands. Work always seems exhausting even when I am not particularly busy. Each workday night my brain seems dead and barely able to maintain minimum life support systems. My wife feels the same way but I do not think it is entirely because of age. Even young people I know experience the same type of mental fatigue. I think in this modern technological age when computers were supposed to make our work and lives easier, they in fact drain us of all mental energy. Virtual work seems to create a very real fatigue. This mental fatigue coupled with an aging body and less energy is not a good combination for me. When I had a young body and did more physical work, I was able to recover more quickly from the demands of work. My recovery time is slower now and a 48 hour weekend does not seem to do the trick. Even last weeks vacation, which now seems like a blur or something I dreamed, was not nearly long enough to really unwind and rest. I recently read that the average American now averages only five to six hours of sleep a night. We all know that our bodies require a minimum of eight hours to be completely rested. Eight hours of sleep per night is 56 hours per week. As Americans we are currently averaging 42 hours per week at best. In other words, most of us are losing approximately 14 hours of sleep per week. That is almost two days worth of needed sleep that we are not getting. I'm falling asleep just thinking about it.

Most volunteer work that I have ever done has been for my church. This week, however, I was offered an opportunity to volunteer at Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby. The event is the Police concert that will happen on July 14th. My reward is to be able to see the concert for free. I have no idea what I have to do yet. Will I be a bouncer for the first time in my life? Will I take people's tickets as they file in? Do I pick up Sting at the airport or stand backstage and keep him supplied with cold water while he sings and dances on stage? Will I have to shine a flashlight in the eyes of rowdy fiftysomethings? Who knows? Since the remaining tickets are approximately $200 a piece, a little volunteer work seems a small price to pay to see the show. I'll let you know how it went.

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