I really want a normal sleep schedule. I crave it. My ideal schedule is in bed by 9 or 10 PM and up by 4 or 5 AM. But things always seem to get in the way. My job has me working late quite a bit. I want to hang out with friends, and there’s no way I’m getting them up early just to hang out, especially when most bars and restaurants aren’t open at 5 AM. Mostly, I stay up late so I can watch TV by myself and unwind without other people talking to me.
I could probably just go to bed earlier and wake up early to watch TV, but that sort of defeats the purpose. I like having time by myself at the end of the day, and since I don’t live alone, I have to stay up late to get it. The consequence of that is feeling tired, which is an incredibly obvious conclusion but one I wanted to establish anyway.
When I’m tired, I am handicapped in almost every way. Physically, my eyes feel dry and stretched out, and my whole body feels like it needs to stretch but no amount of stretching will help. I’m a lot more irritable when I’m tired, and probably less empathetic. I have a lot of trouble focusing, and I find it incredibly difficult to form coherent sentences in my writing. Even if the sentence are coherent, I can’t tell. This whole post might be the most beautiful combination of English words in the history of language, but I can’t tell because I can’t see it as a whole.
This whole situation never fails to remind me of Romans 7:15: “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate (NASB).” I know the benefits of going to bed early. I know I would feel better, have more time in my day, and be a friendlier, more interesting person were I to have a regular sleep schedule. I even know I like waking up early! I have never felt better than when I spent time at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, waking up at 2:45 AM and going to bed at 7:30 PM, or at the Jesuit Novitiate in St. Paul, MN, going to bed at 9:00 PM and waking up at 4:30 AM.
What I’m hoping to work on during my time at Olympic is delayed gratification. My whole life, I have been able to indulge easily in pretty much anything I wanted. Computer games, TV, ice cream, Kindle books — you get the picture. It was all within reach. Even though I know I’d feel better the next day if I didn’t eat all those potato chips and french onion dip, I would do it anyway.
At Olympic, instead of being alone on the couch or in our spare room, I’ll be in a six person suite in a national park with spotty wi-fi and no cell signal. Instead of watching TV, I’ll have to read a book or go stare at the majesty of creation. And instead of having class at 10 AM, I’ll have work at 6 AM. I’ll continue my blog, too. Hopefully, these different things I’m doing start to become habits, and by the time I get back from the park, I’ll be just a little better than when I got in.