This isn’t a staycation. It’s a sleepvacation. It’s important to know that going in.
A staycation can involve a lot of things that aren’t sleep. Some people use them to do a home remodel project, check out tourist stuff in their home town, or binge-watch TV series. In that sense it’s similar to a sleepvacation, because both involve bumming around in pajamas.
I’m setting the parameters going in, because all I want is to SLEEP and sleep is what I’m gonna do.
I’m tired. I haven’t slept well in a year. I’m so tired that sleep is almost the only thing I think about. It finds its way into every conversation. People can’t even ask me how I am without winding up on the receiving end of a rant about my upstairs neighbors. It’s time to do something about it.
I went out of town for a family weekend to celebrate my brother’s birthday. All I could talk about was how tired I was. Suddenly I had a random idea, and tossed it out there.
“I should house-sit for people so I can catch up on sleep.”
My other brother and his wife looked at each other and then back at me.
I had no idea, but they had a trip planned for later in the season, and they were going to pay a dog sitter. If I housesat for them instead, I could watch the dog, keep an eye on the house, and water the plants. My dog walker charges less than theirs, so everyone would come out ahead.
Obviously this setup works best for location-independent people, students, or the unemployed. I have used house-sitting as a side hustle in all those scenarios. A jobbed person can do it if it’s in the same city or convenient to the work commute.
The only trouble with the certainty of the upcoming sleepvacation is knowing that it’s still months away. I have a countdown calendar going on.
In some ways, the existence of the sleepvacation makes the whole neighbor situation easier to bear. It helps to feel like it is temporary, that this sleep-deprived year will one day be just a blip in my personal history. It also helps to feel like there is at least one alternative option, that I can maybe escape for other housesitting junkets.
We have some upcoming vacations planned, which also helps to fill out the calendar with ‘sleep anywhere other than here’ options. It’s not the same, though. Hotels tend to be chock-full of loud late-night drama and people utterly failing to realize how thin the walls are. Also children running up and down the hallways at 7:00 AM, hooting and shrieking.
(If you let your kids do this, you probably also let them kick people’s seats on planes, don’t you? Don’t you??)
Our culture spits on sleep. It’s contrary to the Puritan work ethic. Yeah, you’re tired, so is everyone else, what’s your point? What could possibly be more boring than going to bed early rather than going out? Or knowing nothing about a show that everyone else stayed up late to binge-watch? Sleep is just making yourself irrelevant. Pointless.
I say fie to all that. I like sleeping, it’s free, and it makes you better-looking.
I also happen to think that the reason everyone is so testy and thin-skinned these days is that we’re all sleep-deprived. At least that’s my excuse.
I fantasize about sleepvacation. Should I bring my own pillow? Or order another one and have it delivered?
Am I going to do a lot of yoga? Should I bring my yoga mat? *snort* Is yoga sleeping? Then NO
Am I going to do a lot of healthy cooking? Is cooking sleeping? Then NO
I am going to make precisely two grocery shopping trips, and I am going to eat canned soup and frozen dinners. What I ought to do is eat large quantities of waffles at dinnertime because they make me schleeeeepy
Am I going to bring a bunch of outfit changes? Are they pajamas? Am I going to bring makeup? Haha, no
Am I going to research activities and new restaurants like I do for normal vacations? Do I plan to sleep there? Then NO
Basically I should make a list of everything I do for a normal trip and then cross it off. Normal vacation: fun, exciting, action-packed, interesting, high-value. Sleepvacation: sleeping.
Packing is so much easier when you really only plan to do one thing. It’s basically: stuff for the plane trip, and pajamas.
Eye mask, check.
White noise app, check.
Mouth guard, dang it, yes, check.
Sleep tracker, check.
The one productive thing I do have planned around the sleepvacation is the period immediately following it. The day or two after I get home. I am hoping that I will retain a bit of the glow of well-restedness that is one of the few genuine compliments a woman in her mid-forties tends to receive. “You look well-rested.” Ah, thank you so much, yes, I work hard at that.
I went to Cancun in my early thirties, a siblings trip, and we stayed in a run-down timeshare. It happened to have some sort of fluffy pad instead of a proper mattress. I have never slept so beautifully in my life. I loved that thing and I wish I had had the sense to steal it. I must have slept twelve hours a day. It took two weeks at my lame job for that peaceful, well-rested feeling to wear off.
That’s my fantasy for my sleepvacation. Blissful sleep, hours and hours of it, minus the all-night dance club up the street.
Sleepvacation. I’m making it happen.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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