I woke up this morning — I mean really woke up, like for the day, with no chance of return to the prized, floaty, cocooned slumber from which I was so unceremoniously yanked — at 12:45am.  12:45am! That’s practically still last night. Perhaps it was the sriracha shrimp tacos I ate for dinner. Or, maybe the stress of an upcoming big talk I’m developing. Or, maybe even the coffee habit I’d recently picked up; seriously as if I need any more oomph.

Regardless of the cause, I was stuck.  Just laying there, rueing the hour, and already planning a decadent wake for my Monday’s big hopes and dreams.  I don’t mind telling you: I had GOALS. Big ones. And, poof. All that remained was a certain slog through the day, half brain dead, and a list of unfinished goals mocking me from the far-reaches of my exhaustion-addled mind.  My confidence was gone.

Enter the wisdom of my 15-year-old son.  He was heading to school late this morning because he had an orthodontist appointment.  (See: 15 years old.) I was lamenting my unfortunate condition and he said, “You know, you could see this as an opportunity to do other things.  Like, on days when I am tired, I don’t solve my problems, but I think about them, and that gives me another kind of progress. Consider them ‘sidequests’ like when you play video games and you have to do things that are vaguely related to your large goal, but not directly on the path.  Like when you need to go tend to your farmers and have to step outside of your adventure for a bit to do it.”

You see, he presented me with a choice: wallow in my self-pity, or delve into the joy of the sidequest.  Reframe the problem as an opportunity, and make progress, even if in a completely unexpected way. It was, simply put, brilliant.  (And, I told him on the spot that one of my sidequests would be to bang out this here blog post to share his fresh-eyed wisdom and my age-old problem)

In fact, the very idea of allowing myself a day of sidequests immediately alleviated the burden I was feeling.  I suddenly felt energized to spend the day tending to my farmers, sharpening my tools, cleaning up my office, re-organizing my files, and all the other things that I can do on limited energy, but which get in the way of the days when I feel ready to move mountains.

And, I‘m pretty confident that, along the way, I just might come up with a few new ways to solve some problems, too.