Column: The flight of a night owl to the morning

07/26/2015 9:00 AM |

Back when I was a teenager, my friends and I used to call my mom “the night owl.” It’s kind of a redundant term if you think about it.

As late as I’d try to sneak in some weekend nights, there she would be: up on the couch, watching TV, waiting to give me “the look.” What I didn’t realize at the time was that somehow, her night owl genes would become a part of me.

The peace of working at night, when the rest of the world (or, at least, the time zone) is sleeping, is something I’ve always found relaxing. Whether it was schoolwork or, later on, real work, the distractions could be turned off. I could think in peace and focus on what needed to be done. Even just sitting around, reading or relaxing in front of the TV for a little bit and knowing I can do so without being at all bothered, is something I’ve always found relieving.


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Over time, though, I’ve had to become less nocturnal and learn how to operate the way the rest of the world works: during the daytime. And with the birth of my daughter four months ago, I’ve had to exchange time awake during the morning for time awake at night pretty quickly.

Luckily, my wife and I have been blessed with a daughter that sleeps pretty well. But she still has her nights. And after she goes to bed, every minute I’m awake is one minute of sleep that could possibly be lost later on that night if she wakes up. So, better to get to bed and wake up early than go to bed later and end up with no sleep at all.

But the change from being a night person to becoming a morning person hasn’t been an easy one.

Sometimes, as I’m about to hit the sack, I’ll see that a West Coast Major League Baseball game is about to start up. My interest piques about that starting pitcher I have on my fantasy baseball league bench.

“Ooh, I wonder how Andrew Cashner will look tonight?” I’ll think to myself. “Should I have started him this week?” Then I’ll remember that I can actually just find out tomorrow. But I won’t be able to see how he pitches!

And then there’s that book that I’ve been laboring through for the past three months that I’m still only halfway through. I’m actually pretty interested in learning about why the Greenland Norse colony died out after about 500 years. But if only I could find the time to pick up that darn book.

And “Homeland”! My wife and I switched from Cablevision to DirectTV recently. Did you know we got HBO and Showtime free for the first three months when we switched? We need to catch up on the latest season before we have to start paying for that subscription! I wonder what it will be like without Brody.

But alas, it’s time to hit the hay. I’m a morning person now. Kind of.

I’m still not even so sure I’d call myself a morning person. In fact, real morning people could very well be insulted if I called myself one. Changing my wake-up time from 7:15 to just before 6 a.m. is a change of pace no doubt, but there were actually days when I was waking up at 4:30 to get to construction sites by 6:30 for work.

In fact, when I was a kid, my brother, sister and I would call my dad the “early riser.” While my mom was keeping an eye open for us on the weekends, my dad is a true morning person; I was getting up early to head to work with him.

So now my genes are all torn up. Am I the night owl my mom was or the early riser my old man still is each and every morning?

For now, I guess I’m somewhere in between.

Though the day may come when I end up being both, I have a feeling that once I get into full morning-person mode, there’s no turning back — sleep may just be a thing of the past. And someone is going to have to stay up to make sure my daughter gets home safe.

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