Life Musings

Sleepless Nights

I have always been a night owl for as long as I can remember. As a kid, when I finally roused myself from my cool, dark, room and trudged upstairs rubbing my eyes warily, the big grin and cheeriness with which my Dad always greeted me, “Good morning Pumpkin!” would without fail make me roll my eyes and emit a small groan.

Mornings are not my thing. The only exception to this is my love of breakfast. My Dad, who taught me how to flip my first pancake (watch for the bubbles to know they’re ready), would inevitably fill the kitchen with smells of bacon sizzling while he built a fire to warm the house on chilly days. Or, if it were a Sunday he would run to the nearest gas station (about a twenty minute drive each way) and pick up a box of hand selected donuts: sprinkles for my sister, chocolate for my mom, glazed for me. After sneaking a bite or two to eat I would grudgingly return his gleeful smile and join the line to use the bathroom (four girls and only one in the whole house!), slowly waking to the rhythm of the day.

     So, as I began my career, the idea of working the overnight shift naturally appealed to me. Instead of setting my alarm for 5am, I could lazily use my afternoons to get ready for the upcoming “day.” It seemed a perfect fit. Almost three years later my body has still not adjusted to the rigors of keeping a schedule that is opposite from the rest of the world. Before, I used to crave nothing more than a quiet, dark environment to rest my tired self.

However, when I sometimes try to regulate my sleeping patterns to a more “normal” hour I always hopelessly end up here at three or four thirty AM staring at my computer screen after hours of racing thoughts, turning and tossing, trying to read, falling asleep only to wake up shortly, and repeating all over again. Longing to rest knowing I will regret it the next day if I don’t. Still, my eyes refuse to get droopy, instead looking for any excuse to stay wide awake as the hours tick by.

     The truth is, I think I’m becoming a morning person. The sunrise brings a sense of peace and excitement where it used to bring dread. The thought of having an entire day to do whatever I please without using it to sleep makes me giddy. Being awake to share a cup of coffee with my grandmother as we sit and talk on her patio, or to sit on my own front porch and watch the streets gently start to bustle brings so much comfort and joy.

Soon (very soon I hope), I will be leaving the graveyard shift to return to the land of the living. I cannot wait.  Sleepless nights like tonight convince me more and more that even the advancement of electricity and technology cannot make up for the natural rhythm of the earth. The rising and falling of the sun, the letting go and looking forward to another day.

So night owls, you can keep your twinkly stars and moonlit shadows all to yourselves. Bring on the morning.

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