Blog Post No. 505
I used to be a night owl. Throughout my childhood, I always had trouble falling asleep. I’m a light sleeper, too so any other activity in a house full of people older than me, would wake me up. I remember listening to my old tape player, setting up stuffed animals on my bed, and playing pretend long into the night. By the time I was in high school, I would usually get five (or if I was lucky) six hours of sleep a night. Like a classic teenager, I would stay up late (past my super early bedtime) and struggle with getting up in the morning.
In university, with no bedtime and a the fresh freedom of burgeoning adulthood, I would stay up even later. Either I was out at a pub with friends, hanging out in a late night coffee shop, or watching terrible TV over the antenna. Eventually (when I learned how to be a better student) it would be common for me to be up late finishing a paper or studying for a test.
I’m not special in any of that. And, eventually I learned how to get up early in the mornings for the day job. I still haven’t gotten any better with falling asleep, though. Thankfully, my desire to make a real breakfast and to avoid rushing is enough to force myself out of bed when I have to get to work early. Which is most days, now. I do have to work late often on the weekends, though.
I guess the topic of late night came up on my last visit with my folks (thankfully due to easier but still awful testing, we’ve been able to visit a little more often). We talked about our varying relationship with sleep and I thought about all the late nights I spent doing things (or doing nothing). The night really is a different world. It could just be our lizard brains reacting to darkness, or the feeling of quiet when far fewer people are active in the world.
Back when all I did was talk about writing, I had visions of late night sessions at my keyboard, furiously typing away to the desk lamp with a cooling cup of coffee and headphones blasting out music. The reality of writing (for me) is exactly that scenario, but in the middle of the day when I’m not working or in the evening when I am. I learned to strike while the iron is hot and that scheduling motivation is a fallacy.
I still have that image in my head, though. (Especially when I’m not writing daily like I do with first drafts). I did get a taste of it in those university days when several papers would be due in the same week and there was never enough time. While it’s less romantic, this way is better. That doesn’t stop the night from calling me. If I’m not careful, I stay up way too late and the early mornings bite my head off. Only, in those late nights, it’s not productive writing, I’m working on. I usually fall down a rabbit hole on youtube or get caught up in a video game.
Every adult is always tired, but the more I stick to a sleep routine and get up at a similar time every morning, the easier it gets (eventually). Even though it’s boring and I feel like I want to say up because my free time is so limited, I’d rather go to bed a little earlier and spend less of my free time exhausted. Though, a good nap can be it’s own kind of special experience. Just not at the expense of everything else.