The Existential Crisis of the Half-Awake State
It’s 3 a.m., and my mind is moving at hyperspeed. Plagued by the same thoughts, at this same inconvenient time: where is my life going? Am I using these precious seconds, minutes, days right? How am I giving back to the world? AM. I. ADEQUATE? These crises, and their subsequent laments over missed goals, misguided motivations, woulda-shoulda-couldas, strike like terrifyingly accurate heat-seeking missiles when the sun has set on the time for action. I should be writing but its time for bed and there’s nothing I can do about it now. “How can I prove myself to the world, and what am I doing wrong?” wondered from beneath the covers on a late September evening. But where were those thoughts all day? When these calls to action may have translated to something physical? Something useful? Yet it is in these hours, when we are halfway between asleep and awake, that we make the plans, set the resolutions, and otherwise worry about the direction that our lives are taking us. What is it about this half-awake, half-asleep state that turns our minds into these running machines that won’t let us be?
Salvador Dalí, Sleep 1937.