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Home » 9to5to9

A night owl says learns to say hello to morning

Submitted by on Monday, 1 June 2009 2 Comments
moonMy memories of life as a night owl date back to early grade school, when I'd lie in bed and gaze at fireworks from the county fair and wonder why I couldn't be outside for a better view instead of stuck in my room.

From there, it was an easy leap to closing the cover of "Gone With the Wind" as the sun came up at age 12 and stuffing pillows under my door when I was in high school so the light wouldn't seep out as I kept a scorebook and listened to West Coast baseball on the radio.

There were numerous part-time jobs and heavy course loads when I was in college and Tom Clancy novels after I graduated.

And that was all before the insomnia-intensifying Internet, where the sign saying "Open 24 Hours" would suck me in on a daily basis.

Last week, though, I realized that needed to change.

I came home to work after dropping Big Guy off to school and, two hours in, I just couldn't do it. It wasn't just the lack of focus from day after day on five hours' or less sleep. My head was spinning.

This has to end, I thought.  I'd actually figured that out back in March, a mere three months into my gig as a single mom while Dad's in training. It's amazing how long we can delude ourselves into believing that something can work just because we want it to.

That night, I tried something novel. I went to bed. At 9. The same time the guys did. It felt weird and indulgent, but it had the bonus of quietening them quickly. It's hard to issue endless requests for drinks, pillows and blankets - blankets? Come on, guys. It's 100 degrees - when there's no one to harrass.

The down side of the novelty was getting up at 4 a.m. - or there abouts, plus or minus time hitting the snooze alarm. Could I do it? Could I do it consistently?

Yes, I could and yes, I am. Wow. Even I'm little surprised, and my mother is never going to believe it.

Looking back, though, it's not that shocking. Despite my innate tendencies - and, looking at the guys, I believe night owls are born, not made - I've worked two shifts in my career that required biologically contrary scheduling. At one job, I was at work and firing on all cylinders at 6 a.m. The other was a more leisurely 7 a.m. start, but that was after the guys came along so I was getting up just as early.

I'm actually enjoying getting up with the birds singing - figuratively, of course, because even the birds aren't awake at the hour I'm rising - and my brain refreshed and ready. Amazing what two hours' extra sleep a night can do.

The added bonus of my insomnia-ending epiphany is it takes the sting off Dad's favorite threat of late. "Just wait until I get back," he growls. "The sergeant wakes my up at 4, and the rest of you are going to do that, too."

Gotcha, Dad. I'm already there.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg.

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2 Comments »

  • Leslie K. said:

    try working graveyard shift at an advanced age and doing it for 2 years – I could have sworn at one time in my life I was a rock and roll wild child….today I am an old, tired, woman with a set of luggage under her eyes and a bad attitude.

  • Debra said:

    I don’t know if I could do it for two years, Leslie, especially not with your commute piled on top of it. I suppose I could do it if I had to, but I’m sure I’d be old and tired with an even worse attitude.