The Wonders of Jetlag

I have a love/hate relationship with jetlag. On one hand you have the dizziness, lethargy, strange eating habits and of course the falling asleep in your pudding at 5:30PM when the dinner conversation is just getting interesting. But on the other hand there are some real benefits to jetlag. First, as one who regularly has trouble sleeping at night the jetlag tiredness that hits me about 5:30PM is so intense that I’m assured of having no trouble going to sleep when my head hits the pillow at night. I’ve crossed the Atlantic ocean roundtrip 12 times in my life, meaning on 24 separate occassions I’ve had to deal with extreme 7+ hour timezone difference jetlag. On every occassion the tiredness that hits me in the evening cannot be compared to anything else I’ve ever known in my life, not hard manual labor. Jetlag tiredness is total inability to function.

Another benefit of jetlag is the waking up early in the morning. Now most of you reading this might be asking “Are you crazy?” Well, perhaps, but that’s beside the point. What I mean is this; I’m not naturally a morning person. I usually force myself to be, but I prefer to see only one 5:30 per day. But at the same time I really like mornings. I like the peace and quiet of a still dark house when I get up. I like the gurgle of a brewing coffee pot as it puffs out those last bits of steam. I like grabbing a hot fresh cup of coffee, sitting in the stillness and reading. Normally, when I “force” myself to get up early I’m enjoying this time but with my eyes barely open and with me running into things. But with jetlag my eyes pop open at 4AM and I’m wide awake. No dragging, no running into walls. I wake up and get to enjoy the beauty of a still quiet morning without bodily harm. Now, again, I’m propped up against a wall drooling later in the day, but I consider it a reasonable compromise.

Another benefit is that I’ve found is that one can make the jetlag “last” a bit longer if he or she really works things right. This past summer when we flew back to Russia from the United States I “used” my jetlag to help get me on a schedule of getting to bed early and getting up early. For a little over two months we were faithfully going to bed between 9:30 and 10:00, and every morning I was getting up between 5 and 5:30. This worked fine until we had our first Bible study that went past 11PM. After that things just went down hill.

So right now at 9PM Central time I’m sitting here typing this about to fall face first onto the keyboard. I’m about to go lay down here in a few minutes and I’m looking forward to one of the few times in my life where I can lay down my head and almost assuredly be asleep within 5 minutes.

So the point of all this is two-fold. One, I thought it would be a fun way to let you know that we’re safely back in the U.S., and two, well, I forgot. But I’m sure it was something interesting. So don’t waste your jetlag.

-Thomas

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