I never wanted to go to bed when I was a kid, and I still have a tough time. There are just so many interesting things to do, and when the bulk of my day is taken up with a job to make money, I feel I have to pack as much into my off hours as I can.
I know I get better results from my morning energy. I’m more focused, relaxed and open. So each evening I try to talk myself into getting to bed on time so I’ll get enough sleep. I know how important sleep is for good health. But after getting home, talking with Nick, making and eating supper, there’s not much time left. We’ll do something together for maybe 2 hours, listen to music and read, or watch a bit of cricket. And then, if I want to get my 8 hours of sleep, it’s time for bed.
Every night I see this coming and every night I feel resentful and start sabotaging my own rules. I’ll browse the internet for too long. I’ll pick up a coloured pencil and start doodling or sneak open some music software and start playing. All the while, the clock is ticking and I’m feeling guilty. Suddenly I decide I’m late, and I start charging around preparing clothes and food for next morning, rushing through my brushing my teeth and hoping that time will stretch enough for me to have a bit of a quiet read in bed before lights out.
You’d think after doing this for X number of years I’d have figured out a way to make myself more comfortable. Nick helps me to streamline where I can. We both know I hate being in the kitchen, so for example, he’ll make my morning tea, freeing up a few more precious moments for my creative work before the day job. And I’m grateful, but it’s still not enough.
The thing is, even if I didn’t have 8 hours (not counting commuting) dedicated to an outside obligation, I suspect I would still have trouble retiring. Wait a minute, I know I do, because the weekends aren’t any better. I still manage to find myself at the designated bedtime, dawdling over my computer, regretting that I hadn’t spent more time doing some activity or other, and ultimately, rushing to bed. I try arguing with myself “If you go to bed now, you’ll have more quality time in the morning”. “Sounds good,” I reply, “just one more minute here…”. Or I know, maybe I’ll just get up earlier so that I’ll feel more tired in the evening. And in the morning, when the sun is breaking through and Nick is already up, I turn over and mutter “Just one more minute here…”.
Maybe this is one of those things that never gets worked out, because sleep seems like death, and I don’t want to leave this life. But I wish I would stop yelling at myself in the mornings that I didn’t get enough sleep and why didn’t I go to bed earlier, and then whining at myself at bedtime “not yet, not yet”.