For most of my life, I have borrowed hours from the late night and early morning, paying off the debt by either sleeping lavishly through the day, or coping with the zombie-making effects of sleep deprivation. Lured in by the (probably false) promise that endless, quiet hours of darkness and solitude will pay dividends in productivity gains, I have often struggled to complete “just one more thing” with whatever project has my attention, while also eyeing the clock at best, or the sunrise at worst, with anxious concern that I shouldn’t be too aberrant in my defiance of sleep.
In short: I am not a morning person. I am “blessed” with that gift of waking that more or less makes it easy for me to press on, oblivious to the usual drowsiness that seems to coax most normal people to bed. On the whole, this has worked out okay for me in spite of the occasional job or class in school that required me to be up and at attention bright and early. Sleeping from 3AM to 6AM was not a big deal, especially if I could “catch up” on the weekends. I was younger then, and being in possession of a very long candle, it seemed only natural to burn it at both ends.
Now I’m older, and some things have changed. I have two kids who, whether they are in fact morning people or not, nonetheless rise between 6AM and 7AM most days. My older son Henry also attends morning school with morning teachers who expect morning children to be in their morning desks by 8:15. And my wife is not particularly a morning person either. I can tell, because she grumbles as I do, waking up each morning to dance this groggy dance. If only one of us were a morning person, they could embrace that natural tendency with pride and honor while the other snoozed on…
But no, we both get up every day. Solidarity. And I still fight that urge to stay up all night, but these days I’ve trained myself to sometimes get to bed by 12 midnight, and almost always by 1AM. That’s still considered late by many of my morning, or morning adapted, friends, but to me it represents a great, great adjustment.
Not being a morning person, I’ve always scheduled appointments, be they with dentists, auto mechanics, friends, business colleagues, whatever the purpose, in the afternoon. The afternoon is so forgiving of non-morning people. I even tend to schedule lunches for the afternoon. Old habits die hard, and it wasn’t long ago that getting out of bed, bathed, and transmitted from my home by noon was a pretty tall order. So by default when asked to pick a time to meet for any purpose, I’d say “How about 1 or 2?”
I continued to favor afternoon bookings even through several years of parenthood. Yes, I was waking up at 6 or 7 in the morning, but afraid out of habit to schedule anything earlier than noon. Lately I’ve literally surprised myself by finally adapting to my new lifestyle. When the internet company asked what time I’d like my service installed, I said “as early in the morning as possible,” wanting to get it taken care of so that the rest of my day would be free. I took the car in to be serviced at 8:30AM because, anticipating a lengthy delay, I wanted to “beat the crowd.” And when I make regular phone calls to schedule services or to follow up on a bill, I’m often calling the very minute they’ve started their business day. Perhaps I’m their first caller, because you know, I’m one of those weird morning guys.
Wait, am I really? After all this time, I’m finally broken? Not really. I’m not a morning person, because left to my own druthers I would still work and play long into the night, sleeping most if not all AM hours away. I’d be a “night owl,” and I’d love it. But I’m living s a morning person, and it’s all right. It has its drawbacks, oh god does it have its drawbacks, but I have to admit it also has its perks.