I never wanted to be a creature of habit, but had I been honest with myself about it, I’d have known I was a true creature of habit quite early in life, when I arose in time to get ready to go to school even on Saturdays and Sundays. Oh, how I long to be like other people! Other people can stay up late when they want to and simply “sleep-in” in the morning. How do they do that? Whatever my habitual rising time is, when it arrives, I awaken. If I go to bed at 2:00 am, I awaken at 5:00 am, as usual. I cannot get back to sleep, no matter what I do to encourage my return to sleep.
It’s the same for me in what is called, “good sleeping weather.” No matter if the outside air is cool and fresh, or there is a steady rainfall pattering upon the roof, or a gentle thunderstorm is rumbling through the area, or snow is piling up and local media is advising everyone to ‘stay home.’ I can tuck myself into bed, lower my room-darkening shade, pretend that I can slumber because there’s nothing else to do and – nope! It doesn’t work! Instead, if the event is happening within my normal waking hours, I find myself fidgety with some level of excitement about what’s going on outside. I want to be like a kid at the window, looking out, seeing what’s happening out there.
My dad used to josh with us after he arrived at home when we lived in an isolated rural setting. He’d arrive home to see his three boys all looking out the window in expectation of his arrival. He’d say, “I look at the window as I drive up and what do I see? I see three pressed hams with googly eyes!” He would mimic our faces and expressions as he said this, we’d get the point and laugh at ourselves. But, with respect to watching what’s happening outside, I haven’t changed since then.
I may be ‘pushing 70’ as one of my tee-shirts claims, but that kid is still alive within me. When I watched, on my family’s small black and white TV, Mary Martin fly across a Broadway stage as Peter Pan, with visible wires attached, singing, “I won’t grow up…” I must have taken that declaration far more seriously than it was meant to be taken. Snow, rain, wind, falling leaves, almost anything will signal to me that, like a kid again, I must look out the window. Though I can kinda look out my window and be in bed, the limited view of branches against sky frustrates me to the point that rising from bed seems necessary. What is that about?
No doubt I engage in all sorts of other habitual behaviours too, but this inability to sleep away my time during genuinely supportive sleep conditions is the most irksome to me. Today’s weather conditions are ideal for sleeping. Alas, it was 6:36 am when I began this note, so no more sleep for me. I’ve done all my laundry, fed my cat and my girlfriend’s cats too, done whatever chores need doing. Can I tuck myself back into bed for a little snooze? No.
Well, maybe I’ll give it another try after all.