I believe that everybody has a story, unique and powerful, that inspires us, or encourages us to do something incredible. And these stories can be from any part of our lives: our innocent childhood, our emo-edgy teens, our melancholy adulthood. The story can be a span over all of these eras of human life. This is what I want to explore in myself, a cross-section over the different eras of life, focusing on something I did in each of those eras--every day, actually! I'm talking about the story of waking up.
Let's first look at what happens when one wakes up, without the story plot. The physical, in real life, universal actions of what it means to be conscious and get out of bed...I suppose, that is it! You are, firstly, not sleeping, and secondly, getting out of your spot of rest. These are universal. Nobody can do the action of waking up without going through these two steps. Note that my definition for "waking up" isn't just waking up, but getting up.
Now, let's look at the stories of waking up! There are five big ones that I expect we all have experienced at some point in our lives.
1. The Comedy of Waking Up
I'm not sure what it is as a child, but everything can either be a lighthearted affair or the end of the world. It's either everything is amazing, or everything is horrific. In the case of waking up, I feel like it's almost a mixture of both, resulting in a comedy. A memory that I have from when I was 5-years-old comes to mind: my mom woke me up for school, I jumped up, put on my clothes, freshened up, ate breakfast and rode on my Dad's shoulders to school. The moment I entered my elementary school building, I woke up. Then, I repeated the entire morning the exact same way.
2. Overcoming the Monster of Sleep
Honestly, this is me every day since I was 17-years-old. I picture sleep as an actual monster that tries to keep me from getting up. It's terrifying! Just this morning, the alarm clock woke me up from slumber at 6:30 a.m. The monster then manipulates my mind, casting me under a spell, forcing me to return to bed, against my will. I'd then regain consciousness some 20 minutes later. Realizing what happened, I create a magical sword from sheer willpower, slay the monster and arise victorious.
3. Rebirth and Reformed
Following the story of overcoming the monster, needless to say, I am occasionally defeated. The Monster is a powerful adversary! However, in the words of Kelly Clarkson, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." When I regain consciousness, I'm empowered and motivated to overcome the monster in order to save the world. Or...because lab is in 10 minutes...
4. The Tragedy of Waking Up
I can't decide how to look at tragedy--honestly, I am conflicted. A part of me imagines waking up as the struggle, and therefore not waking up in time is a tragedy. For example, imagining drowsiness as the Monster, the tragedy would be my lack of willpower (or refusal of summoning my willpower) to slay the monster. But, if I see actual life as the enemy, and sleep as an ally, then, actually, Waking Up is the tragedy. I think it depends on where your values are. As a child, the true enemy was school, so it was a tragedy to wake up. But, when the weekend comes in, it would be a tragedy if I overslept.
5. The Voyage From and Return to Bed
Honestly, this is how my entire day is oriented. My daily life is a voyage, and I look forward to returning to the land of bliss: the Carlsbad II matress. The act of waking up is a departure from home to accomplish whatever it is I must do. And the return is the returning home to the resting place.
It's important for us to learn from stories in order for us to be better human beings. From the story "Snow White," or the Serpent and Eve, we know that we should never accept apples from witches or snakes, because we will die! From the story of "The Matrix," we learn to believe in our abilities and to take the red pill. From the story of "Lord of the Rings," we learn to not accept old wizards into our homes if we don't want to go on an adventure.
The question is, what can we learn from these stories of waking up, what pitfalls can we avoid in waking up, what can we expect from unexpected situations, like the cruel reality of waking up the next morning? The general orientation of our entire life can be signaled from how we see our story of waking up. Be a better person, tell us your story of waking up.