Jet lag (according to the Centers for Disease Control): symptoms that result from temporary desynchronization of circadian rhythm between a traveler’s internal clock and the external environmen.
Jet lag (according to me): It is 1:36 am and I am AWAKE. Arrrggghhh!
Ten reasons Jet lag is worth it?
- You don’t get to visit exotic countries on the other side of the world without changing time zones and paying the price in jet lag. And the exotic countries, even the ones I have visited nine or ten times, are still enchanting.
- Pictures and memories: while being up late at night, memories of the trip come flooding back, and with it, the impulse to review “just a few” of the pictures that captured those wonderful experiences.
- Traveling abroad (or even across country) may pull me away from my family, but every time I return, I am blessed with being able to experience them anew. I get to hear new stories of school, activities and sports successes. I feel anew the warmth of their hugs.
- My wife and kids, beautiful each, are revealed to be even more beautiful than I last remembered! Every time.
- Gifts. Take a trip far away for a while, and I am expected (or I expect myself) to bring back gifts. With it comes the worry of finding the right gift (thank you to a few friends who pointed me in the right direction) but also the joy of the smile on their faces when I get it right.
- Mail (snail mail and email) My gosh, there are piles of it at home and work. Jet lag provides an honest excuse for not getting through it right away.
- Flying on an airplane. You cannot get jet lag unless you fly on a jet. No matter how many times I am on a plane, I am always amazed that these things can fly and can actually take off and land safely. I have read the “How Things Work” books about the mechanics of air flight. Being almost a Physics major in college, I even understand the words. But the actuality of flying still amazes me.
- Quiet Time: jet lag, awakening you in the middle of the night, when no one else is awake, entices its victim with the sweetest of rewards: the opportunity to reflect, undisturbed, upon issues and experiences of the trip (or the day, or of life). No kids rushing in. No friends somewhere waiting to Facebook chat. No chores to be done.
- Blogging: Blogging provides the means with which to share my reflections – both mindless and meaningful – with others who, by virtue of being on my email, blog subscription or facebook pages, might find some meaning in my babble.
- Hashkeevaynu: We get to field test our prayers. Each night at bedtime we pray with our kids the Hashkeevaynu (as Jews do around the world): hashkeevaynu Adonai Eloheinu l’shalom, v’ha’ameedaynu Malkeinu l’chaim – that we are laid down by God (with God?) to sleep, and that we rise up renewed for living. We pray u’fros aleinu sukat shlomecha, that God’s holy sukkah shelters us peacefully as we sleep. Jet lag awakes me to the peacefulness of my home, when my beloved wife is sleeping soundingly, and my darling children looking so innocent in their beds.
Jet lag also has an end. Having eaten a piece of toast and a cup of water, I lay myself back down to sleep. Beloved sleep will come now at 2:15 am, ending the effects of dreaded jet lag. Or I will eventually “hit the wall” and need to nap in my office during one of my prescheduled open calendar spaces. Either way, I receive a well-deserved depreve from jet lag.
Talkback (I’d love to hear):
- How do you combat jet lag?
- What blessings have you discovered from being up in the middle of the night?