Today I woke up in Maine for the first time in a month.
I woke up with a start, having shut my phone’s alarm song off (Ventura Highway) at 6:30 and fallen back to sleep.
I wanted to be downstairs by seven because two talented friends are here, transforming the barn floor into something that will not only be smoother to dance on, at the wedding, but will also look fantastic.
The guys had worked well into the night and I wanted to be up to push the button for coffee and go grab some homemade muffins from the General Store.
I was dreaming of a pre-wedding gathering at a house I was unfamiliar with. I was trying to find a shower away from the crowds, and it was difficult. A very nice young lady saw that I was having trouble, and offered me access to a shower that no one else knew about and I accepted. She led me down a narrow corridor in an old house and showed me the room, which was fine, but she also wanted to show me the soap, a bar which was broken in half.
“Oh no.” She said calmly, holding up the soap. “Lizards. Here let me get them for you.”
I looked down at the half she was not working with and there, sort of pressed into the soap, was a salamander – the kind I used to hunt for beneath logs when I was young.
It wasn’t moving, which was sad.
Then it was!
“This one is alive!” I exclaimed (as one ought to do when dealing with a live salamander in one’s soap).
It then leapt up and onto the counter and transformed into a little matchbox car-sized version of a gargoyle from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. I think it was the one who exclaims “Pour the wine and cut the cheese!” while making armpit fart motions.
Apparently transmogrification is possible for all soap lizards because soon there were four colorful little gargoyles roaming all around the sink.
And then I woke up.
And I was frazzled… most likely trying to subliminally reconcile the natural ramifications of lavatory-dwelling salamanders with superpowers.
I realized I’d fallen back to sleep and was now late in getting downstairs, so I got up, went to the sink in my own bathroom, brushed my teeth, and then got into the shower.
Sorry, I forgot a step.
I got up, grabbed my glasses from the nightstand, went to the sink in my own bathroom, brushed my teeth and then got into the shower.
With my glasses on.
And it still took me nearly thirty seconds to realize I was wearing my glasses.
I had already begun to shampoo my hair.
I think I just had my first wedding anxiety-fueled dream.
I looked up ‘anxiety dream’ and this is what Wikipedia told me:
“An anxiety dream is an unpleasant dream which is less disturbing than a nightmare. Anxiety dreams are characterized by the feelings of unease, distress, or apprehension in the dreamer upon waking. … Though they create anxiety in the dreamer, anxiety dreams also serve as a way for a person’s ego to re-set.“
Okay. I’m down with the feelings of unease, distress, or apprehension upon waking – I figure that must have contributed to the subliminal desire to wash my glasses along with, you know, me.
Reset my ego?
What happened to my ego?!
So then I googled ‘resetting ego’.
And I found out that ‘ego depletion’ is a thing and, apparently, it is not a good thing.
So I found a blog post by a dude or dudette named Will Tumonis. And Will was leaning on some research by Juliano Laran and Chris Janiszewski, to tell me that I might be able to un-deplete (I’m reading this as ‘reset’) my ego by viewing certain, mundane tasks as fun. That ‘fun’ will help me to re-inflate my ego.
That didn’t sound… well… fun. So I read more.
According to Veronika Job, Carol Dweck, and Gregory Walton (and heaps of their research), I might be able to limit my ego-depletion if I believe I have unlimited willpower and self-control.
Which sounded fine, I suppose, except the same article then said that I might be able to limit my ego-depletion… with food.
Now, that sounded GREAT – though seemed to fly in the face of the whole self-control thing.
But then I got to this:
“The likely explanation is that carbohydrates, even if merely sensed and not swallowed, activate dopamine pathways in striatum, a brain region associated with rewards. So carbohydrates probably reverse ego-depletion because they increase people’s motivation and not because of their metabolic effects. Whatever is the real mechanism, it is clear that food effectively restores ego-strength.”
Sensed but not swallowed?!
So, if I just sense chocolate in my immediate vicinity, and maybe even chew it up… so long as I don’t swallow it, I will expand rather than deplete my ego?
There’s a whole cost-benefit analysis thing missing in the mix here.
Me: Teased. Tempted. Tortured.
My ego: Kicking back in a hammock feeling awesome.
Not even remotely a fair trade as far as I’m concerned.
Well, by then I needed to get outside, lugging my dangerously depleted ego – as made clear by the soap-dwelling lizard-salamander gargoyles – in need of resetting.
Then I remembered.
I’m in Maine.
And I took a look around on a crisp, winter’s day.
I felt the salty winds play with my hair.
Heard the surf crashing off in the distance.
Hung out with a gull or two for a few minutes…
And I was suddenly,
Thanks for readin’.
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