Early Bird

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This morning I had to be at work at 6:30am for a very atypical morning film shoot (I work in the video department of marketing at a university). I had planned ahead as best I could - lunch packed, clothes laid out, and most importantly...went to bed early. Josh had class till late and Tilda fell asleep at 9pm, so I decided to take a page out of her book and try to catch some early zz's myself.
It wasn't a great night, she was up at 12, 3, and 5am for quick night feedings. Then, after 5am she decided she'd had her fill of sleep and food and just wanted to be awake...talking...loudly. So, poor Josh had to also get up at that ungodly hour and snuggle the cute talkamaniac until she drifted off back to sleep - by which time I was long gone, on my way to work and trying to trick my brain into wakefulness with each sip of my decaf.
As I made it through the day, I seriously started doubting the benefit of my go-to-bed-early logic. Turns out, you just can't displace sleep no matter how hard you try. I mean, I don't even want to know what state I would have been in if I hadn't gone to bed early - but even so, nothing can make up for those lost hours.
Why is that?
It works in any other part of life! Calories in - calories out. Money in - money out. Gasoline in - gasoline out. You put in extra, you take out extra and so on and so forth...tit for tat if you will. Then it dawned on me: sleep is dependent upon TIME...and that, you just can't make up for.
Food, money, gas...any thing you can replace in life. You can get more of it, lose it, give it away, but time, just like sleep, can't be stored up for later. Use it or lose it, so they say. Or better yet - you snooze you lose...literally!
I always tried "sleep displacement" in college too. It seemed to work at the time, but my schedule was inundated with naps and highly caffeinated breaks. When I was finishing my degree in Tennessee I would even sleep on the grass or in the back of my car whenever I had the chance. If I didn't think it would get me fired (or at the very least some strange looks) I might be tempted to try that even today! Some days I will walk by students basking in the Southern California sunshine and look longingly at the freedom they take for granted now.
But alas, now I am a grown up. I've exchanged my lawn naps for meetings and my caffeinated lunches for a bagged lunch in the women's nursing lounge. But, you know - even if I could hold on to time, I wouldn't go back to those days. I wouldn't even store up sleep if I had the chance (don't ask me this at three in the morning!) I think I would just like to have a time-slower-downer-dial instead - slowing down the moments I know are most fleeting. The quick little smirks in the morning from Miss Talky Pants, for example. Now that - that I would store up and slip in my pocket and carry with me to relive again and again the rest of my life.
Some things are worth getting up early for - work just ain't one of em.

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