Early bird, or night owl?
I would say neither nor. Sometimes there are circumstances in life, when you are more or less forced to be one or the other and you even think it belongs to your way of life especially in the younger years, but once you discover your life is you own to choose and do what you like, a little more common sense prevails perhaps.
A teenager in the swinging sixties in London – who cares when you go to bed and how much sleep you get? A certain influence was administrated according to when the last underground train left for your home destination. In my case my Saturday evenings were spent in Leicester Square dance hall, about 30 minutes train ride from Bethnal Green where I lived at the time. Of course there was compensation on Sunday morning, sleeping in until elevenish, although this was also combined with getting out of mum’s way when she was preparing the Sunday lunch. A delicate matter it seems and better not to appear in the kitchen, being “in the way”.
During the week you arose in the morning to go to work, so you had no way of choosing to stay in bed. You arose with the early bird and if you went to bed with the night owl, then you had problems to leave the security of your bed the next morning.
Years go by, you become independent, no mum and dad, just you, yours and yourself. Great, at last the chance to become a haunter of the night. No-one to tell you when to go to bed, although unfortunately you were still forced to leave your bed early in the morning, when the owls were probably sleeping and counting the worms and mice they had caught during the night.
I did lead quite an active life, taking advantage of parties and events, although I suffered during the day trying to keep my eyes open and not falling asleep in the office. Did anyone notice? I do not think so as they probably had the same problem after a night on the tiles.
Married life changed things a little. For your children you do everything, so it was waking every four hours when they were babies. You were a living milk supply and your babies did not care. They were hungry so they screamed and made noises until they were fed.
Eventually the kids grew up and I returned to work. I just slept at every opportunity. Regularly arising in the morning at sixish and having a fully packed day, was no ideal for becoming a night owl. Generally I fell asleep in front of the television early in the evening. Unfortunately office hours in Switzerland were a little different to England. The morning began at 7.00 o’clock in the office and work was finished when it finished according to what you were doing, but we had generally a 42 hour week, so work that out.
Today I am retired. You do what you want when you want to. I never did become a night owl. I detest falling asleep in an armchair during the evening. I go to bed when I am tired and I arise about eight in the morning. Even if I am awake earlier I do not care. I savour every minute I can lay in my comfortable bed. Of course as it happens in age, you do go backwards in your life. My children always had a midday sleep and I find this also very rewarding as you get older. After dinner an hour or two in a horizontal position in bed is just what I need for a relaxing session. Combined with an hour Tai Chi practice during the day it is ideal. I want to make the most of the years I have left.
The birds never wake me in the morning, usually the local road train that does its first daily journey around six in the morning. I sometimes even hear an owl in a nearby forest during the night, such a reassuring noise, knowing it is his problem and not mine.
So if you want to see me shining and full of life, call in around 3-4 in the afternoon. It is the best time and you might even get a piece of homemade cake and a coffee.