Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Morning, Noon, or Night?

 This post was written during a winter break four years ago. Although I'm a lot closer to coming to terms with my internal clock, I still waste a lot of time feeling a bit embarrassed that it more closely resembles that of a college student than that of a grown-up. Maybe it's the company I'm keeping :-) 


I've spent a lot of time during this break beating myself up about not being able to get started. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I get up early (a relative term if there ever was one) or much too late, even by my night owl standards. I don’t seem to be able to kick myself into gear until late morning.

And I do mean late morning.

I have applied all sorts of adjectives to this. Tired. Overwhelmed. Unmotivated. Lazy. Procrastinator.

Do you hear that? The sound of judgment permeating this post? It’s ugly, isn’t it?

Needless to say, that didn’t help. And, if I'd laid finger pointing and blame out as a plan for myself (and a ridiculous one at that), I could have told you it wouldn’t work. I would never say those words to someone else (well, maybe tired and overwhelmed). In fact, if someone came to me with this "can't get started" concern, I would seek to analyze and create a plan -- a helpful one, not one based on hurtful criticism -- yet my first response to myself is to chide.

At 81, my dad is unapologetically not a morning person. Though he would help someone he loves at any hour of the day or night, he doesn’t schedule appointments until after lunch unless it’s completely unavoidable. His sleep schedule is more in line with the norm than mine is, but he still gets up hours later than my lark of a husband. And, for his part, my husband is asleep on the sofa before my dad turns in and long before I turn out the light and call it a day.

I share this not because one of us is right and the others are wrong, but because I want to be more like my dad -- unapologetically not a morning person. I’ve got 4/5 of that down pat. It’s the unapologetically part that I struggle with.

I don’t know why it took me so much time and mental anguish to figure it out but, even if my hours aren’t in sync with the regular business world, I put in a full day. So, besides the crushing guilt over being in bed too long after “everyone else” is up, why does it matter what time my day starts?

It doesn’t. At least not now. Now, I am still on break, yet still working, too -- on class prep, an online course and the writing it’s become so challenging to squeeze into the semester. Oh, and there are all those little things around the house that fall to the bottom of the list during fall and spring semesters. Some days, I work in spurts but, most days, I work consistently during the day and, often, again in the evening after some afternoon down time.

In two weeks, I will need to conform (slightly) again. I’ll need to set an alarm which, admittedly, will be for a time when most people are already up and at work. I’ll then need to show up on time and ready to teach. And I will do this willingly, in part because I have set a schedule that does not include early morning classes, but also because I enjoy my work and recognize that a schedule is necessary in order to make it happen

Meanwhile, as long  as my work day is flexible, you’re more likely to find me working on a syllabus or blog post at 11 pm than 8 am because that’s the way my body clock is set. I don’t jump into the day, I ease into it. And, at night, I don’t embrace the end of the day. I extend it, savoring the quiet time when I wind down much too slowly and go to bed much too late.

There it is again. That judgment, ever so sneakily stinking up the place. 

Image by Cristhian Adame from Pixabay
I am who I am, and, in the big picture, I get a LOT done. Some days I’m amazingly productive and
other days, I leave an imprint on the sofa -- y’know, kinda like everyone else. I wear many hats and, some days, I’m too tired to decide which one to put on first, so I take my time figuring it out.

My dad has the right idea. And, I’m learning that the only thing standing between me and that same unapologetic attitude is those judgy labels I stick to myself. And, I certainly don’t want to wait until I’m 81 to toss them in the trash, so maybe today is the day I shrug and say, 
“That’s just the way I am.”

And that’s okay.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a morning person, up with the sun (whether I want to be or not) and I wish I could be more unapologetic about the fact that at 8:30 PM, I would like to go to sleep now, thankyouverymuch.