2:47am: late-night advice to the lost and weary

My sleep schedule is messed up. I’m awake and asleep at all the wrong times or maybe all the right times and the rest of the world is out of whack.

I woke up not too long ago because I thought I heard the front door open. But it was locked when I checked it. I lay here for a while before getting up, not really having the intention of getting up. And I thought, as I lay here, of the same thing I think of every morning I wake up. Every time I wake up day or night. Every last breath I take before I fall asleep. My mind wanders deep into the night. And tonight it brought me here.

I wrote something in the evening but I was so dog tired that I didn’t know whether it made sense. So I clicked the side button on my phone and closed my eyes. I don’t remember what I wrote but I remember what I wanted to.

The moon is full. Did you notice? I saw it when I checked the front door. I would have stepped outside into its light but I didn’t want the sound of the door to wake anyone. A great sacrifice on my part, but it’s good to know the moon is out there even though I’m awake in this dark room.


I’ve lived a bit less than half my life, and only sometimes do I think I know where I am or where I’m headed. I figure I’ve got another 50 years to find out, and by then I will probably realize that I had never been going anywhere, that I had always just made the most of where I’d been. The pieces have always fallen into place, but what else have they to do? Some people follow their dreams and some have none to follow. I was never so organized to have anything specific in mind except for architecture. But that dream wasn’t my future. It was exactly what it was: a dream, a short-lived vision of a life that I wasn’t supposed to have, that I didn’t have. But the architecture thing wasn’t a passion. It was a want. The passions I’ve had in life have never been practical nor possible to live out in a professional way. I wanted to stay in school forever. My passion was physics. And later, writing. I never gave writing a chance before the rest. And now it’s something I want to do, need to do. It was all in the timing I guess. I don’t know that I’ll do anything with it, but here it is. Here I am. Breathing it. And physics is a memory now. I don’t feel it anymore. Not like I did. That life was never mine, either. Makes me wonder what the next 50 years holds. Passions come and go, I guess, as we let them, as I’ve let mine. Maybe my path will loop back around, or maybe I’ll find something new or something new will find me. The latter has always seemed to be the case up to now. I currently have professional choices at my feet, which is good. But I don’t know whether I want any of them. Everything I think I want to do is out of reach, so I keep those things in a bag of hobbies and try to make my days worth looking back on otherwise. But new things pop up when I least expect them to. 

I tell, implore my students to start a problem by taking one step they know they can take and to not overwhelm themselves with the big picture. Then after that first step, take another. Then another. And so on. Look at the whole thing all at once and the problem can be daunting, scary and seemingly futile. 

One step at a time.

That’s all I’ve known to do. 

C.S. Lewis wrote, “What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.” Though some say Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote it. Regardless of its origin, the idea is truth as far as I know it to be. I said it before I learned that anyone else wrote it, so the method is popular and it works.

Geez, it’s after 2am, and I’m wide awake.



Author: uncaged

When Picasso painted a blue Seated Woman in a Chair, he was unconsciously thinking of me.

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