The drama that is my relationship with bedtime.
The school term is now three weeks in, and 6am and I are getting reacquainted. I’m not a fan of 6am, or anything that happens at that time, and because I’ve told him as much, 6am doesn’t like me either. I’m convinced he arrives early just so I can begin my day cursing him.
I didn’t always hate 6am. There was a time when I didn’t even know he existed. Well, to be fair, I’m sure our paths crossed once or twice. I mean, we must’ve attended the same party at some point, but I’m certain we never spoke or acknowledged one another’s existence. I was happy that way, and I think he was too.
But then my second child was mistakenly born a “morning” person, and that’s when we started to notice one another. I want to tell you that 6am is evil — the way he just pops up when you least expect or how he’s always there even though you’re actively trying to avoid him — but I’m told there are some who don’t mind his company. In fact, I actually know a very successful person who begins his day with 5am! He and 5am meditate and exercise together. Because this person is someone I admire, I wondered if 5am was different than 6am, and so I decided I should try to get to know her.
After just seven (7) days of hanging out with her, I must say that 5am is a real bitch. Look, I was the one who approached her, and so you should know that I went into that relationship committed to making it work. Think of all the writing I could get done with her! Not to mention the exercising and the “me” time I always feel like I’m missing out on. But it takes two to tango, and she wanted nothing to do with me. I could tell by her attitude.
5am was abrupt. She woke me up from a deep sleep and forced me to get going whether my brain liked it or not. She didn’t care what kind of night I had, whether my kids were sick or if they had a bad dream. She wasn’t interested in my sob story about how my day was full or how I needed this relationship to work because I was feeling lonely ever since I ended things with 11pm. She just watched me whine and cry and drift back to sleep until it was 6am.
I know you’re thinking I went about this all wrong. First of all, 5am is a hard core, intense kinda friend, and so if I couldn’t handle 6am, what on Earth made me think I could cope with 5am. Not to mention I had just ended things with 6am, and I shoud’ve spent some time getting to know myself, perhaps train in 15-min intervals because one has to work up to a 5am lifestyle. Well, I realized the same thing, albeit a few days later. So I started hanging out with 5:45am, and while she wasn’t as bad as 5am, I realized I didn’t like her anymore than I did 6am.
So, like many who are in a relationship they’re thinking of ending, I turned to the internet for advice. I can’t begin to tell you the weight that was lifted off my shoulders when I came across this article, “There’s a Scientific Explanation for Why You’re a Morning Person […]”. It showed me that there was a good reason I disliked 6am. And 5:45am. And 5am. Basically all the am’s.
After reading it, I felt vindicated. The guilt I had at not being able to get up vanished, and I proudly announced I was going for a nap. After I woke up, I was able to think about this entire thing rationally for the first time. I had to accept I was not a morning person. I enjoy the evenings. I was, afterall, genetically programmed that way.
I realized that my problem wasn’t with 6am. My problem, all along, had been with 11pm. He and I had a lot in common, but when we got together, it always resulted in a disastrous next day. Recognizing that he had been sabotaging all my other relationships was an eye-opener.
Ending it with him took time. We did the whole dwindling thing, you know, break up, but then get back together only to break up once more. Then we slept together, which brought us closer until I realized I was only falling into the same destructive pattern. 11pm wasn’t going to change. If I wanted things to be different, I had to.
So I did. But if I’m honest, he’s not completely out of my system yet; I still yearn for him some nights. But I’m keeping strong and starting new habits. I now set a bedtime alarm so I don’t lose track of time. I have 1.5 hours in the evening to relax. I have grown more accepting of that time limitation than being angered by it.
I recently pulled 6am to the side and apologized. I was honest. I told him I seriously doubted we’d ever be true friends, but I was committed to being civil and would stop cursing him. He didn’t make any promises to me, but that was fair enough. Time is consistent, and I need to accept that.
Since then, things have been… well, they are what they are. My alarm goes off to remind me it’s time to go to bed. I’m tired anyway, and I’ve stopped fighting it. Besides, whatever I’m doing can wait.
My alarm goes off again at 6am, and I get out of my bed to start the day. I’m not happy per se, but I’m definitely not angry anymore. And that’s a huge improvement.