I awoke this morning with an exhilarating realization: A new day had dawned. The sun brought clarity, as well as light. Looking into my shaving mirror, I made myself a promise. I said to myself, "No matter what obstacles I encounter, no matter what trials I must endure, no matter what distractions I must ignore, I will not rest until sometime after 11 o'clock this evening."
With God as my witness, I swear that I, Ryan Carlisle, will be tireless in my efforts to carry on until well after 8 p.m. Should I feel myself lured from my path, I will resist sleep—that subtle and quiet temptress—with a soda or a brief walk to the mailbox. I will be dogged in my determination to remain awake throughout the entire day. The sun may set upon the land, but I shall forge ahead for a little while longer. I will toil ceaselessly, well into the 11th hour. Before the 12th hour, however, I shall sleep.
It may not be easy, but worthwhile pursuits never are. Facing the task of crossing the Delaware unaided, did General George Washington sit down on a horn-and-hide officer's chair and await word from Charles Lee? Did Abraham Lincoln, having just read the Emancipation Proclamation before his stunned and momentarily speechless cabinet, heed the words of Postmaster General Montgomery Blaire—who described the proclamation as "voting-booth poison"—or did he go forth with what he knew to be a de facto declaration of war?
Did Albert Einstein give up on physics, because it made his brain muscles hurt? No. And, in the tradition of Washington, Custer, and Einstein, I, Carlisle, will stay awake until at least 11 p.m.
Insidious drowsiness may attempt to draw me under my sweet covers, but I will resist her, for I am a man of action, resolve, and determined wakefulness. As such, I declare that I will labor until my work is complete, my dinner done, my house tidied up a bit, my face washed, my teeth flossed and brushed, and my outfit for the following day laid out on the chair in my bedroom.
There are those who are not as strong as I am. Some, vanquished by their lunchtime burrito, will surrender to a nap behind closed office doors. Others, lulled by local news anchor Deborah Spalding's report on dangerous bacteria levels, will succumb to sleep for an hour on the couch. But not I. No matter what arduous activities I complete during the day, I shall not stop striving until I've eaten dinner, watched The Daily Show, and had a relaxing shower. I will galvanize my spirit, pressing ever forward in the day until I put on my pajamas and fall exhausted into my bed, at which point I shall pull the comforter over my weary torso. I'll try to do this by 11:30 p.m., so as to get a good night's sleep, which will allow me to be alert the following day.
I may not be able to do it alone. To get me through the afternoon slump, I may enlist the aid of the Starbucks barista. I may call on a friend to join me for ice cream at the Chocolate Shoppe. I may even call my mother, with whom I haven't spoken in nearly three weeks. That would fill at least an hour. But even if I must do it alone, I, like George Washington, will soldier bravely on through work, meals, household tasks, TV shows, and phone calls.
A warning to those who would try to stop me: I have made my way through many days. Your tricks no longer work against me. If you turn up the heat in my office, I will remove my blazer. If you offer me a second turkey sandwich at lunchtime, I will politely decline it. If you make me sit through a mind-numbing employee-training session, I'll keep my mind active with thoughts of which items I should remember to put in my briefcase to take home.
No one can stop me. No one can draw my focus from my goal. No one can dull my desire, subdue my drive, tame my passion. Try as you might, you will not impede me. I will not waver in my determination. I will not take my eyes off of victory until I have put in a good 16-hour day and am, frankly, all tuckered out.