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From Grumpy Bear to Spike Jones

Well, today is a day of not working. I don’t just mean that I have the day off, which is fantastic, but the TV isn’t working right, the car isn’t working right, the mini-split isn’t working at all, the internet is spotty, my computer is just limping along… My kids aren’t even working for that matter, just throwing Legos all over the house and screaming at each other as loudly as possible… Oh, and stayed up half the night and kept my lovely wife exhausted out of her mind. I work. I work a lot. I worked last night and had my usual 50+ hour work week with the side work of pretending to write on top of that. So I have an exhausted brain to match my wife’s. And thus when I dragged said brain over the threshold this morning, something snapped inside it and made the conscious decision to do nothing but clean the house and be a grumpy bear to my family this morning. Not a great decision, exhausted brain. I’m sorry, family.

I learned something new today. Sleep deprivation may upregulate the anger and rage center of my amygdala, at the same time it dampens my tired brain’s ability to process data and make good choices. Not good. And maybe a handy reason for the grumpy bear coming out of me… Maybe a bit too convenient of a reason.

Psychosomatic factoids aside, what ought I to do when nothing’s going right and I’m exhausted? I mean, other than just give up and take a nap like my wise wife keeps telling me to do… I ought to get outside myself and lighten up and realize that the people around me have needs as well. I ought to decide to upregulate the madness center of my amygdala instead of the rage one, and give up being irked at everything my loved ones do. I ought to put on the image of Christ who, though exhausted, betrayed, and about to be murdered horribly, thought about me above his rights and walked into the teeth or the Lions for my sake. Today I’m remembering that it’s exactly these trying times where I prove best if I really do hold to the selfless principles of the Third Commandment of chivalry.

Yeah, I should take a nap and take care of myself too (you’re right Joy). But I’ve remembered again today that this is no excuse for lashing at life and the people I share it with in the interim time before I can drag my carcass to bed. If sleep deprivation is going to break my amygdala and make me feel like a drunk, I’ll try to tweak my attitude to become a happy drunk instead of an angry one. And I am happy to say that, by the grace of God, I did get the kids working and the house clean (good job kids). And I did find a way to switch my Hyde sort of madness into the Spike Jones sort of madness. The kids all liked that sort better (though I’m not sure what the wife thought of it).

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