What Time Do You Get Up? by Bill Storie
I woke a couple of nights ago at 2 am. I didn’t have anything worrying on my mind, or something to work out, I just woke up. The annoying thing was that I was wide awake and felt refreshed.
I thought it was too early to actually get out of bed so lay for a while day-dreaming, well night-dreaming I suppose. Then I realized I could get up and wander across the room to the laptop and see who else was up at this unsocial hour. I did that and discovered (duh !!) that there were countless people up around the world at that time.
Then I wondered if I was the only sleepless Oldster that woke in the middle of the night.
So, I spent a couple of days watching the various posting times of people looking at their time zones, and found out that I was not the only person Sleepless in Seattle. There are tons of us getting up very early, or staying up very late.
Is it because we’re older, or we are taking naps in the afternoon so we’re not tired at night? Do we need as much sleep these days as we did when we were more active?
But perhaps the more important questions are “Does it matter”? – and “Do we care anyway?”
I don’t have to be up at a set time the next morning to get to work. I could sleep in if I wanted to (I don’t but I could). I don’t have meetings to go to where I need to be alert (or even awake!!). If I’m tired later the next day I can have a snooze.
So, what’s the big deal?
The answer is none.
We can do what we want. This is our time and if we want to get up at 3 am and speak to people around the other side of the world we can. I’m beginning to like this retirement gig after all.
I do wonder though what our parents and grandparents did when they were in this stage of their lives and wanted to get up in the middle of the night. They didn’t have online friends. They literally would have got up in the dark, stumbled across the floor bumping into furniture and trying not to disturb others in the house, aiming to get to the kitchen to turn on a light and make tea or coffee. By which time the pet dog would be up as well wondering what the hell the old man was up at this time for, and grumping into the kitchen to be beside him.
Drink the tea (triggering a bathroom visit on the way back to bed !!), stare into space, look out the window into the darkness, read yesterday’s newspaper. Couldn’t play music, or sing, or cut the grass. Couldn’t do any housework. Couldn’t really turn on the TV or if so, it had to be so low it couldn’t be heard well. Earplugs weren’t around back then anyway.
I’m starting to think that this generation – us – this generation of Oldsters, may be the first generation in mankind who actually do get up in the middle of the night and do something, at least in large numbers. Simply because we can do something, such as chat to other people online or read stuff online, then we do get up. In other words, if we didn’t have something meaningful to do, the chances are that we would simply stay in bed, toss and turn, count sheep, annoy others and get upset that we’re bored. Then we’d finally wake up later, with a sore head, dry mouth, tired and grumpy. So,
- Do you waken at strange hours in the middle of the night?
- Does it bother you?
- What do you do?
I’m tired now. I think I’ll have a nap.
Oh, that’s right it’s 11 in the morning. Who cares? No-one. OK, I’m off for a lie down.
See you next week.
By Bill Storie