Being fairly new to blogging, I’m always on the look out for new things to talk about. Today, while scrolling through my reader, this Daily Post Cahllenge jumped out at me: Two Right Feet
What are the things you need to do within 30 minutes of waking up to ensure your day gets off on the right foot? What happened the last time you didn’t do one of these things?
I am a night owl. Mornings are my nemesis. I wondered if nemesis was too strong a word, so I checked the definition:
The inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall – Oxford Dictionary
Mornings are relentlessly inescapable, and they have all too frequently been a challenge for my seemingly immovably nocturnal brain.
I’m not sure when my brain decided that compliance with society’s regular patterns was not of huge importance. My teachers in school gave up giving me detentions, or writing notes in my planner, and seemed eventually to resign to the fact that this child, while hard-working and pretty well behaved on the whole, would make it to school on time only when the pigs taught the penguins how to fly.
It became the butt of many family jokes. One Christmas morning, the first three presents I opened – all from independent non-communicating relatives – were alarm clocks. Two were big mechanical ones with bells on, and the third fired a spinning disc off into the depths of my room, only to be silenced from its shrieking by the return of the disc to the base. The latter was quickly assigned to the dustbin. Although effective, it was brutal to the extreme – no-one enjoys waking up to an adrenaline fuelled scramble to the dizzying heights of the top of the wardrobe just to retrieve the off button to their alarm.
I thought going to university might help – new environment, forming new habits and all that jazz, and for a few weeks, it did. Although a large portion of that might have been due to the detrimental effect that extreme stress and gastritis has on your sleep. For much of my first year, I managed to arrive on time for lectures, albeit having bypassed breakfast and power-walked across campus. Then the fatal blow was delivered in my second year. A combination of moving to a halls block just a 5 minute stroll from my building, and my boyfriend moving to Sydney for 6 months put the nail in my cosy, duvet-lined coffin. The complacency of my closeness to lectures, combined with a lot of late night skyping to the other side of the world, meant that I slipped oh-so-easily back into my old ways.
Over the years, I have spent day after day crashing through the house like a tornado in the mornings, and trying to remember frantically on my way to work which excuse I used yesterday, and working out what today’s catastrophe could have been. Phone calls just as I was leaving the house, traffic jams, difficulty parking, had to go back for x/y/z… They’ve all been there. Nine times out of ten, it was probably just that my alarm heralded up-time, and I replied with a muffled ‘5 more minutes…’
Trouble is, I work best at night. I can get on a roll with something at 10:30pm, and the next time I look at a clock, it’s 1:30am. This causes problems when you have to be up at 6:30am so you can leave enough time to get stuck behind that inevitable tractor/gritting lorry/garden shed (true story – actually got stuck behind a large garden shed being transported down a lane the other day…!!) on the hour-long trek to work. Driving tired is also deeply irresponsible.
So for the last few weeks I’ve been diligently packing my bag the night before – yes mum, I finally listened – making lunch (sometimes…) and attempting early nights. I’ve been putting my alarm on the other side of the room, and resisting the urge to creep back under the duvet for those elusive ‘5 more minutes’, heading downstairs for Ready-Brek with golden syrup (because yes, I’m essentially 6 years old and it’s about the only thing I can tempt myself out of bed with). Until the day before yesterday, it was going swimmingly. And then I sleep-turned-off my alarm. According to my boyfriend, I got out of bed, turned off the offending alarm, and got right back into bed, still sound asleep. It’s a new low for me. I woke up in a total panic at 8:10, and managed to make it out of the house in 20 minutes, in the full belief that maybe the batteries had run out, or I hadn’t set the darn thing right. But no. I’ve developed a new brand of sleep-walking.
I feel that somehow, this might just be a battle I’m never going to win. My brain seems determined to be nocturnal, no matter how many alarm clocks I throw at it. So my morning ritual is really pretty simple… to make it out of bed in the first place!!