Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Retraining the Night Owl

All-nighters are kind of a regular thing for me. I get sucked into a good book that I can't put down even for my 40 winks. There's so much on my mind that I can't get any shut eye. A looming deadline means no Z's for me. It's like I don't want to miss any of the adventures, so I can't allow myself to fall asleep.

But all that's changing. Thanks to some health issues and a resolve to improve my lifestyle, I've been early to bed and early to rise for almost a year now. (Old habits die hard, so this isn't always the case, but it is becoming the new normal.) And I've noticed a subtle change: I'm happier in the morning.

This morning I woke up early, and while I couldn't convince myself to go to the gym, there were so many great things about having three hours to myself. The first moments after awakening, I lay in bed for a few moments enjoying the sounds and smells of spring. Then I got to read a book from my grad school reading list and check the newspaper for interesting tidbits. I didn't have to rush through my morning routine or run after the bus. I even had time to pack a lunch and eat breakfast. While nothing in particular made this morning extraordinary, I literally stopped in to middle of gathering my things to leave and thought, "This is the best morning I've had in years, possibly ever."

I once read this book about a character who waffles back and forth between redemption and sin. He can't seem to decide if he's worth saving or even if he can be saved. And for the TV junkies out there, you'll recognize that conundrum as a common theme in the show House. This lack of faith in humanity's ability to change drives me crazy. While current events and statistics might make us doubt that things ever get better, that mentality just isn't true.

When I was in high school I read this quotation: "What I am going to be, I am becoming." (I think Thoreau said it, but as it's been about 15 years since I saw it, I can't confirm that attribution.) This philosophy has quite literally shaped my life. Every choice I make puts a little piece of future-me into place, and every action leads to both opportunities and consequences. I look back on the past 30 years, and I'm in awe of everything that I've been able to do and how different I am because of those experiences.

Maybe that's why I like YA lit so much--the characters are constantly in flux. In these books we see ourselves balanced on the precipice of our own future. It gives us hope people can be redeemed and that the next year, the next decade, the next millennium will be the Golden Age.

As for this night owl, all I really know is that tomorrow morning will be even better.


  1. "What I am to be, I am now becoming"
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    1. Leave it to my little bro to be the brains in the family.