My sleep schedule has been off since New Years. At first, it was wild alternations between nights where I'd sleep for five hours, then nights I'd sleep for something insane like twelve. Then school started again, and it was just six hour nights. Last week, I got to the point where I was waking up at 5 or 6 every day, regardless of when I went to bed--I managed to sleep in on Tuesday to the late, late hour of 8 am. Finally, through sheer lack of options, my body gave in to a reasonable schedule, and I started going to bed around around 10 or 11 and waking up an appropriate seven to eight hours later.
All of this is somewhat relevant to my personal identity because--for the past decade at least--I have not been a morning person. When I think of early morning risers, I tend to think of my brother and his wife, who have perfected the early morning routine into an art form. Whenever I've stayed with them, for years now, they go to bed around 9 and wake up--I think--around 5:30 am. I say "I think" here, because I never, not once, have woken up early enough to see them off, unless I'm taking an early flight that day. And frankly, I always thought they were insane. Waking up early seemed, to me, stodgy and old. Staying up all night, in comparison, is exciting--an adventure, or a horror story, if insomnia-induced. Either way, though, it's the better story, I thought.
I was wrong.
Staying up late, if done in company, is an adventure, sure. But waking up early has its own pleasure. It struck me as I was walking to school around 6:00 or so last week, and everything was dark. The streets were quiet, but not empty, not quite. They were populated by people who, like me, were up early, making their way through the world. If you're walking home late at night, it can be a pretty draining experience. Whatever you're walking away from is over and done, so emotionally, you're probably coming down from an intense experience to something more mellow. And your thoughts are getting home, going to bed. If you're up early and it's dark out, it's a different story. People aren't as drained, and there's a purpose to their actions. That purpose creates a sort of joined commonality with the people you run into. On a very quiet, very simple level, there's a sense of communion in the air--not at all religious, but definitely edging on spiritual.
Okay, that's the corniest thing I've ever written here, which is saying a lot. But it's still true.There's a tranquility to being up and about before the morning rush, especially if you've got a lot of time to get where you're going. There's a whole day to get to, and the time you need to get to it.
I'm not a morning person, yet. But I could get there.