The Night Owl's Dilemma

Have you ever tried really, really hard to be something that you aren’t? Maybe something that you’re super close to being, something that your natural state is ever so adjacent to, but that just isn’t on the mark. It doesn’t seem like it should be that far of a stretch, so you go for it and feel that much worse when you can’t achieve it.

Well, this is me and my now decades-long battle with trying to become an early bird, early riser, or whatever you want to call the cosmic brown nosers that naturally awaken with the sun to run ten miles and read five books and answer all their emails and meditate and every other goddamned task before I’ve wiped the crust from the corners of my eyes.

Too much?

You see, this is a battle I’ve waged using various strategies and tactics. First, I tried the early-to-bed tactic, eschewing my natural tendency to stay awake late. But this also meant that I missed all the best T.V. and couldn’t go to parties (which I obviously wanted to do), so I’d invariably give up within a week and be back on my late-night ish.

I’ve tried setting a hilarious number of alarms, which just made me immune to the sound. Or maybe it did the opposite since I jump a little and get the slightest eye twitch whenever I hear the iPhone alarm sound on a show or as someone else’s ringtone...

There was the stint with the “Life S.A.V.E.R.s” routine, where I tried to squeeze in a morning routine of Silence / Affirmations / Visualization / Exercise / and Reading every day. Before work! Suffice it to say that this insane task was recommended by tons of YouTube and Instagram lifestyle and wellness influencers and random Life Coaches who did NOT have to go into the office for 9-5 jobs and who had time to fart around for 2-3 extra hours each morning before doing anything necessary to start the day. Getting this done before showering and getting to work on time meant me waking up at 4 am. Insane.

So I’m back to square one. Or maybe even square zero, since my sleep has been more than a little wonky lately, with me staying up until 3 am scrolling my Instagram explore page or swapping colorful blocks on some random matching game until my brain slows down enough to go to sleep. And I guess the question I’m left with is- is that so bad? Aside from the obvious inconvenience of a 3 am bedtime not being the most compatible with an on-call time of 9 am for work, whether in-office or remote.

But, seriously, why should I feel bad because my body just doesn’t want to wake up early? I’ve been like this my entire life. No matter how hard I’ve tried to fight it- no matter the crazy routines or tactics or amounts of melatonin I’ve taken- I inevitably settle into my baseline Night Owl tendencies. I.M.O., there’s nothing wrong with that.

I won’t sit here and force myself to fit into society’s mold- that’s bogus and unfair. I should be able to be free to be myself, right?! Right!

Well, until I have to clock in for work, anyway.

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

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So I was thinking...