I used to be a morning person. Not only did I work an early morning shift during the week, but I had no trouble getting up before 9 a.m. on a Saturday. Exercise, run errands, grocery shop and clean my apartment all before lunch? No problem. The best hours of the day are before noon, my mom would say. She frequently woke me up for school singing You are my sunshine, off-key. Shes a morning person, too.
As an early bird, I could never understand people felt the opposite -- the night owls. People who slept until noon, blasted music at 3 a.m. and sent texts after midnight asking "Whatcha doing?" (Sleeping -- like a normal person).
Then my job responsibilities and work schedule changed. No more 6 a.m alarms or leaving work when the sun's still shining. Now I'm at the office at the time I used to be curling up in bed with a good book. Time to become a night owl -- or at least, don't fall asleep before 10 p.m.
It took some adjusting. You want to make a person grumpy for about a week? Throw off their sleep schedule.
I told myself I'd use my mornings wisely. I'd get up, eat a good breakfast, exercise, work on my novel, straighten up my apartment and maybe even run an errand or two. That way, when I got home from work, I could relax and get to sleep before midnight.
My conviction lasted about a week. My 8 a.m. alarm crept up to 9:30 a.m, then 10 a.m. Breakfast became brunch or just a really big lunch. I can usually work in a couple pages on my novel, but exercise? Errands? Cleaning? Yeah right. All of these get pushed to after 10 p.m., when I get off work.
I do pilates and yoga videos when other people are watching late night news. I clean my apartment when you're climbing into bed. Errands are more difficult, because there aren't many stores open. If you're looking for weird characters for your next Southern Gothic short story, go to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night. That's where they congregate.
Good things about being up that late? Fewer people and fewer cars on the road. The world's quieter and feels clearer. You can get things done without being bothered by anyone else.
The other night, when I found myself making spaghetti at 1 a.m. for my lunch the next day, I thought, maybe I've taken this too far. I'm not even technically working a "night shift," just a really late afternoon. But when you can't fall asleep before 1 a.m. anymore, what else are you supposed to do with your time besides cook, exercise, write and all the other things normal people do in the daylight hours?
So go ahead, night owls, blast your music and send me texts at 2 a.m. for no good reason. Just don't call me in the morning and expect me to be chipper. The best hours of the day are after I've had a good night's sleep.
Sara Pauff, 706-320-4469 or email@example.com. For more commentary, read her 20-something blog.