I spent last week in the US, visiting the great purple mothership, hanging out with Flickr and MyBlogLog and the Bookmarks teams, watching Schulze and Webb do their talks in Sunnyvale and Adaptive Path and catching up with enormous tracts of wonderful people including Chad Dickerson, Cal Henderson, Simon Batistoni, Rebecca Blood, George Oates, Aaron Straup Cope and Heather Champ. And many others who also rocked. It was a good week that calmed many of my gut-wrenching horror nerves about the practicalities of moving to the US, which is now very much on the table and which I’m trying to work through my final neurotic issues about. More about that another time.
But now I’m back in the UK and I’ve been hit by the jet lag monster and I’m reminded again just how unpleasant an experience it is travelling this direction. When I get to the US everything is always shiny. I collapse in the middle of the evening and wake up stupidly early, but there’s something about being awake at three or four am that makes you feel super productive and creative. The work day is normally fine. I don’t flag too heavily until late afternoon, and then the day’s basically over. Being on that timescale makes me feel like those people you read about in magazines who are insanely productive and who you really hate because you know that you too could accomplish way way more if you could just get up a couple of hours earlier and spend that time profitably rather than foraging for day-old pizza and watching South Park.
In contrast, coming back from the US transitions you from feeling super early-riser productive into a situation where it’s three am and you can’t sleep and you lie there looking at the ceiling. And then your alarm rings and screams at you to get up but you hurl it across the room in rage and sob to yourself that you can’t possibly be expected to get out of bed and do something useful. And then you wander around the office feeling like you’re moving through a forest of duvets, always a little too warm – like your body has just decided that it’s asleep in defiance of all the evidence. And everything is woolly and your brain doesn’t work properly and nothing flows and it’s all completely infuriating. Travelling to the US makes me feel like a productive superhero. Travelling back makes me feel like a time-wasting slugabed. Astonishing how much impact your sleep state can have on your self-image.