I have been having lots of long talks with Cairene about exhaustion. And the consequences of exhaustion.

Like how all the stupidest and most regrettable things I have ever done (see: sneaking into self-forgiveness) all end up being related to how ridiculously little sleep I was running on at the time.

And how most of the people I know, most of the time, are in a state of nearly permanent depletion. Including me, of course.

In fact, most people I know are so used to running on empty that it isn’t even that noticeable.

You only recognize it when you’ve gone beyond depletion. Past whatever reserves were left. When it’s the full-on falling-apart everything-must-crash time.

So yeah. I’ve been doing a lot of interacting with the various pieces and elements. As you know.

And today I need to tell you about the hotel.

When I reach a state of worn-out, I can’t really make decisions.

I definitely can’t make the kind of decisions that support slightly-future-me.

That’s why I’m always practicing. Trying to be — and become — the person who can take care of her.

We have long conversations where I ask her questions about what she knows and what she needs.

I do stone-skippings. I plant presents for her, and make notes about what she likes.

I consult the Book of Me. And the Dammit List.

Basically I’m trying to avoid situations where she’ll be worn out. And if she is worn out, I want her to not have to make hard decisions.

It’s not letting future me get into the wrong kind of shenanigans.

Cairene said something super crazy smart about how the tired mind is pretty much always going to decide wrong. Or it will choose the things that don’t help.

So the idea behind all this conscious entry and preparing for the voyage that I am always talking about is basically this:

Set stuff up so that there aren’t any of the kind of choices that are going to be stupid and terrible.

Don’t offer up any of those things that take you away from yourself as possible options.

Set it up.

So then we were talking about how at fancypants hotels they slip that sheet under the door telling you about all the things happening the next day.

You get to pore over all the stuff there is to do. And even if you don’t do any of it, your choices are still guided into the same general pathways. Do I want to do something restful? Something fun? Something entertaining?

And so Hotel Playgroundia was born.

Hotel Playgroundia is part-imaginary and part-not.

It’s the idea of the place that I go to chill. It exists to take care of me. And to remind me to take care of me, if that makes sense.

It’s also what I’m calling the new extra-cozy loft-bed-blanket-fort deal in my Pirate Queen quarters at the Playground. Which also doubles (metaphorically) as my Dressing Room.

In the hotel room there’s a guidebook.

It’s that kind of binder that hotels have (a bit like the PLUM, the Playground User Manual).

It’s all about how things need to work when nothing is working.

There’s a page about food options.

About movement classes and old Turkish lady yoga.

Where and when you can get a massage. What you need for the pool.

Room service options. The mini-bar. Entertainment choices.

Emergency services (what to do when you freak out and fall apart).

That’s what I did today.

I played with magic markers and construction paper.

And stickers.

I made eight very colorful pages.

While having fits of giggles resulting from my attempts to invoke cliched hotel copywriting:

“At Hotel Playgroundia, we are honored to provide a variety of nourishing snacking selections…”

“Our plentiful and varied entertainment options include an exciting assortment of books that are already on your iPhone…”

But it’s all there so that I don’t have to decide.

Or if I get to the point of Beyond Tired, the only decisions I can make are between X thing-that-is-supportive and Y, that thing-that-is-also-supportive.

I won’t be able to choose the things that hurt me because they won’t be available options at the hotel.

And if it doesn’t work, I’ll play with it some more.

That I’ll get tired and over-tired is a given. Being alive involves playing at the edges and discovering what my boundaries and limitations are, sometimes the hard way.

But my gwish is that the coping mechanisms I’m putting in place will bring my attention back to being cared for.

That way, instead of constantly trying to make my way back from beyond exhausted, I can eventually find out what it’s like to live in a state of 90% preventative and 10% recovery. And not the other way around.

Play with me!

Self-practice and the giant communal and commenting blanket fort.

There was kind of a lot packed in here today.

Probably because I just taught the Art of Embarking on Monday, and then on Toozday I did a class for my Kitchen Table program on flow, depletion and recovery. So I’m kind of swimming in this stuff right now.

Here’s are some things we could possibly mess around with today:

  • Identifying the signs of oh whoops, in depletion again. Obviously, the People Vary rule holds true here. But what are yours? How do you know when you’re there?
  • What types of things would your hotel guidebook include?
  • What would you-from-a-few-weeks-from-now love to have in [his/her/your-favorite-pronoun’s] hotel?

Usual comment zen applies. We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We take responsibility for what’s ours, we let other people have what’s theirs. We don’t give advice. We’re supportive and welcoming. Everyone belongs. We play.

Confidential to [redacted] — past-me would like to add that she does not at all regret you-related-decisions of a decade ago, extreme lack of sleep be damned. Though she apologizes for obviously-stupid other you-related-decisions that happened the next year. For the record.

The Fluent Self