Green: Tougher to be relationship-deprived than sleep-deprived


Last week, I got a new fitness tracker. It’s one of those nifty doodads you wear on your arm that tells you how many steps you’ve walked in a day. Since I work at home, mostly on a computer, I don’t take very many steps, and it’s a great reminder to be more active.

But I’m always tired. I know a key to being less tired is to be more active, but it’s hard to be more active when all I want to do is take a nap. I was surprised when my fitness tracker became more than my athletic coach. It became my sleep detective.

I woke up in the middle of the night the other night, as I often do, and punched the button on my tracker. Zero steps, as it was just after midnight, and it sets back to zero each day. I rolled over, went back to sleep, and woke up again at my normal time.

Just for kicks, I checked my tracker again. Two thousand, seven hundred fifty three steps. As in, 2,753. As in, more steps than I get on some days.

Where did those steps come from? Was I sleepwalking? Attending Zombie Zumba? I showed my husband the tracker.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” he said.

“What do you mean? I was asleep!” I said.

“You sleep like a crazy woman,” he said.

I gave him the stink eye.

“It’s true. You’re all over the place. Under the covers. On top of the covers. Under the covers. On top of the covers. You start with two pillows. Then you want one. Then you want two again. You’re a one-woman circus.”

I give him the double, extra-stinky stink eye.

“Don’t take my word for it. Look at your tracker.”

No wonder I’m exhausted.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with this information. I’ll probably take more naps. I deserve more naps after my all-night-sweatin’-with-the-oldies session. Maybe I can record myself and start a sleep exercise Vlog. Richard Simmons, step aside.

As I pondered this newfound discovery, I realized that so many things — big things — happen while we’re not aware. Children grow up, and we didn’t even notice. People fall in love. Relationships are built. Relationships fail. Lives are changed, and we’re not mindful of the catalysts.

I have no idea how I’ll harness my nocturnal conditioning sessions, but I can be a more effective participant in other life events. While I become more physically active, I’ll make it a point to be more emotionally involved in the lives of the people I care about. Instead of sleepwalking through life, I’ll be present. I’ll contribute. I’ll pay attention, and I’ll act.

I’ll put my phone away.

Turn my worries off.

Converse more. Hug more.

I’ll pay attention.

It’s a hard thing to be sleep deprived. It’s far worse to be relationship deprived. From now on, when I look at my tracker, I’ll ask myself about my friendship fitness. And I’ll take active steps to help those important people in my life feel the strength of my love.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air,” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26.