Did you eat too much? Drink too much? Indulge in a little seasonal gluttony? Ah, the phenomenon of the morning after – best survived by the young; nonetheless an experience familiar to those who should know better.
The morning after
Some of us remember our partying days (and nights) in college, or possibly through our twenties: the nightmare of too little sleep, too much alcohol (or other substances), and the embarrassing moments of waking up to someone whose name you may or may not recall. Then there are those who live their excesses beyond the usual years of experimentation. It becomes a lifestyle, a chain of ups and downs that may develop into addictive behaviors, or addictions to a variety of substances.
Have you thought about it lately? Are you stuck on your three whiskeys after work? Has the fridge-and-pantry-binge become a daily ritual at a certain hour? Are their pills to sleep, pills to take the edge off, pills or caffeine to wake?
Dying to work
What about work? How many hours do you spend laboring each week? 60? 70? More? It’s one thing if you’re juggling two jobs or extra hours for financial necessity (yes, that is a judgment on my part), and a different story when you use work to obliterate something you don’t care to examine. Especially in a society where workaholism is the one “ism” garnering the proverbial Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
Nonetheless, in all excess that evolves into routine, we are no longer in control; we are being controlled. And we know it, in the guilt or fatigue of the morning after, in the murky, leaden hours as we prop ourselves up again for another day.
It’s the morning after Christmas, a holiday jammed with expectations, shopping, cooking, travel, wrapping, decorating, and the complexities of family dynamics. And the next day? Are you still pushing to clean up, to entertain, to make a mad dash to the stores for sales? Are you reaching for that Alka-Selzer or Excedrin?
Sometimes let down is nothingness, the natural aftermath following a significant event like a wedding or other big bash. We’re spent, physically and emotionally. The morning after is all about a void; we require a readjustment period.
I’ve experienced my share of mornings after, of all sorts. But this year, the morning after Christmas isn’t one of them.
We’re living low-key holidays, a matter of circumstance and intention. We spent yesterday simply, with music, eating, and discussion. There were a few gifts, and we watched a film together in the evening. Something we haven’t done in years. And the day was overflowing with abundance – a feeling of emotional fullness.
Abundance versus excess
We all overdo occasionally – food, drink, partying. Some of us live a high speed lifestyle for years, burning the candle at both ends until the light goes out.
Sometimes excess serves a purpose. Its price teaches us the value of moderation, the need to stop. Sometimes, excess enables us to arrive, eventually, at equilibrium.
- Do you know the difference between excess and abundance?
- Do you recognize your own limits?
- Do you listen to your body the morning after?
In this household, this particular year? No Alka-Selzer on tap, no rush to shop the sales, no sink full of pots and pans. Only whatever the day brings as we wake, and teenagers begin their usual foraging for food, then their comings and goings. Yesterday was about abundance in its most essential form: we were together, we were ourselves, we were unscheduled. And the morning after enters, quietly.
© D A Wolf