Alphabet Series: Energy (after 8 p.m.)

Day Five: Energy (after 8 p.m.)

For most of my life, I’ve been the embodiment of the cliched night owl. As a single lady, I wasn’t one to be out carousing and painting the town (the very fact that I use those phrases should give you insight into just how vanilla I am), but it was nothing to stay up into the a.m. Through college and about a year and a half after, my regular bedtime was usually midnight or a little later.

Now I start getting heavy eyes by 9 p.m. Since Cory is who I spend most of my time with and Cory works first shift and has to be in bed by 9 p.m., my day is pretty uneventful after that. And I realize that going to bed earlier is just a natural part of getting older and working, too. (Without kids, anyway. My future sister-in-law, Emily, who has two boys younger than 6, could give you another perspective of adulthood over on her blog. Check it out.)

But when I didn’t have a boyfriend, I found reasons to stay up. Friday and Saturday nights were the days that were made for breaking the health advice of watching no more than two hours of television to prevent a rotting brain. Or say a three-hour movie starts at 10:45 p.m. at the theater. No problem! Or maybe the roomies want to get ice cream from the 24-hour McDonald’s drive-through. Give me time to slip on my flip-flops, pal!

I recall one particular Valentine’s Day when my roommates and I, in an act of solidarity against boys and relationships, rented Psycho and watched it while eating copious amounts of Taco Bell. The party started around 8 p.m. and didn’t wrap up until close to 3:30 a.m., when all we could manage was sleep-deprived giggles at half-funny, rambling anecdotes. That was a good time.

Another time, a childhood friend who moved to Bowling Green was having a small party with his roommates and a couple other friends and texted me at 10:30 p.m., inviting me to come. I didn’t think twice. I pulled on some sweatpants and a T-shirt and headed over. Granted, that only happened once, but I wasn’t tired and thought it would be fun to connect with an old friend.

More often than late-night bingeing or little get-togethers, I stayed up to write. Every summer at home in Paducah, I opened Microsoft Word on our Windows 98 desktop and worked on stories, none of which ever had an ending. But I typed until the cursor became blurry, usually around 1 a.m. I realize now how fortunate I was to have parents who trusted me from a young age to be on the computer even after they went to bed. Their trust in me, I believe, indirectly cultivated my writing skill, for without it, I wouldn’t have gotten all those hours of practice.

However, being alone late at night could get depressing. Even with a roommate sleeping six feet away in college, I felt small and lonely while I was up reading or doing homework, trying to be quiet and having no one to share a funny thought with or bounce an idea off of. The morning hours seemed like a distant event, something I wouldn’t witness without bloodshot eyes and slow footsteps. That feeling made the night seem even more isolating, since I figured I would be the only person walking across the sunlit campus to have known the darkest time of day. Obviously, that was a false notion since, you know, it was college, but that was how I felt. In a way, I romanticized the exclusiveness I felt, but part of me still wished I could share “normal” hours with others, particularly a life partner.

Plenty of cool things happened late at night for me, but I don’t lament getting drowsy at 8:30 p.m. these days. I simply fit all the cool things into the daylight hours, like playing skee-ball at Chuck E. Cheese with Cory or cooking dinner for two. And getting eight hours of sleep is now a commodity I just don’t want to do without.


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