It’s after 1 AM, October 2nd. No, I don’t plan to write all my posts as soon as the clock flips over to the next day. It just so happens I’m up right now, so I’m taking the opportunity.
This last week has been…oof. The earliest I’ve gotten to bed in the last 5 days has been 12:30am–the latest, creeping right up to the witching hour. For some reason, work this week has seemed a bit overwhelming. Part of the reason may well be that my day-shift hours have been a bit broken up with other responsibilities. Working from home brings a host of benefits and privileges, but along with those comes the added responsibilities of changing your new home-based “co-worker’s” diaper or feeding her a bottle when she gets up from her nap. Daily office traumas involve various burns, scraps, and goose-eggs on the noggin. Hugs must be given, bandaids applied. These things take time.
This means that my most productive time-block this week has been after the kids are in bed and the nightly “reset” has been completed (so, roughly 9:30pm until 2am). Of course, this isn’t a long-term solution. The various children have a secret shift schedule somewhere in their collective sisterly consciousness, such that they systematically alternate which one wakes up in the wee small hours of the morning with a dirty bottom or empty stomach or energetic mind. I don’t have the option (or frankly the inclination) to live the “rockstar lifestyle” of the freelancer or night owl who works until not-quite-dawn and then sleeps until not-quite-noon. For some indecipherable reason, my employers insist that I be cognizant when the vast majority of the working world is. Killjoys.
I’m forty, gang. I don’t have the physical wherewithal to stay up all night and still get up with the sun. Your humble correspondent needs a solid seven-plus to feel decent–not even good, just functionally human. This 4-5 hours a night business is a young man’s game. Shoot, it was my game two decades ago, when I would hang out at the local greasy-spoon diner with my theater-major buddies, slurping down sodas and chomping on plate-sized cinnamon buns, staying up until the faintest whisp of dawn cracked the horizon and sleeping for a few hours before rolling out of bed for breakfast and my mid-morning class.
What am I getting at? Who knows. It’s now 1:30am and I’m talking to you lunatics.
Maybe it’s this: For decades, I treated sleep like a necessary evil. I pushed myself to stay up late, running hard on a dirty-fuel combo of caffeine and corn syrup, and all that did was leave me with a severe weight problem and some sort of metabolic disorder that makes me feel like I’m made up of equal parts inflammation and exhaustion.
What I didn’t realize two decades ago, and what I understand now, is that sleep is a gift from God that I shouldn’t have taken for granted. And long weeks of late nights like this one are supposed to be a rare exception for times of crisis, not a habitual pattern.
Get some sleep this weekend, friends. It’s not a punishment. It’s a present you get to give yourself. Do good work, love the people you’ve been given to love, and then rest. Goodnight.