I was always a night owl.
As a kid, I would sleep until 15 minutes before I needed to leave for school. Clothes on, breakfast in, out the door. Saturdays, I would sleep until 10 or 11. (Marching band at Saturday morning football games killed that.)
Nights were always my best time. Best for thinking, for writing, for talking, for pretty much anything (except maybe sleeping…).
But then I became a teacher. And for decades now, I’ve gotten up way earlier than I would like.
(And yes, I became a mom, but The Kid is also a night owl and has been since Day 1. That has been much less an issue than the gig.)
Regardless, I don’t sleep in any more. I don’t do late nights well any more. I don’t consider it a function of aging, as many people do. I consider it a function of repetition. I think if I’d had a job all these years where I could go to bed at 1 and get up at 9, I’d be much better at sleeping later than 6. (And I’d be sadder than I already am that The Kid reports to school at 7:05.)
I’m getting better at going to bed earlier so I can wake up at 6 and feel decent. But it’s hard, because the late evenings have always been My Time, and now they’re sleep time. But they’re sleep time because I need to go to work, not because My Time is at another time.
Adulting would be less hard if my work schedule and my Me schedule were more closely aligned. (I’ve thought for a long time that life in some ways must be simpler for morning people, since life is structured on their schedule much more often.)
It’s also hard, because night used to be when I could focus well and work on things that required a lot of brain power.
Now, I can sometimes get in good evening work, if I’ve gotten enough sleep and the day hasn’t been too arduous, but mostly, I’m just tired. I do the majority of my writing now in the early afternoons, after I’m home from work but before I pick up The Kid at school. It’s not ideal—that’s definitely an energy dip time for me—but it’s pretty consistently available, and I’m grateful to have it.
I do much better writing on Sunday mornings. The Kid is usually with The Tall Daddy, and I’ll often wake up an hour or two before The Climbing Daddy, and I can use that time to write.
But most of the week, I get up and go to work. I can’t hang out and write. (I don’t even get up and exercise in the mornings. I’m not an early-morning exerciser. Or an early-morning anythinger.) I’m not getting up earlier than I already do, because I can’t (won’t?) get to bed earlier than I already do.
So now, I’m not a night owl, and I’m not a morning person. I’m just trying to get to bed early enough to be a well-functioning