Night Owls vs. Early Birds

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
We’ve all heard that opposite attract. I always thought that statement meant extreme opposites. And if we’re talking extremes, Andy and I aren’t very opposite. We’re the same age, grew up in the same town, were in the same second grade class, and worked the same job one summer. And we both grew up eating tofu. How much more similar could it get?

But after a while, you realize that any relationship is made up of little opposing views and practices. Andy likes to have MPR, music, and maybe a movie all playing at the same time. He’s not too picky about what he eats or where stuff gets left around the cabin. I have a fairly low clutter tolerance for both noise and physical stuff. Andy seems to thrive in the very chaos I detest.

Over time, I’ve learned that a day is ruined by letting the dishes stack up or letting the dishes stack up. Of course, some differences we have yet to reconcile, like my unbridled hatred for Prairie Home Companion or Andy’s need to open a new jar of salsa every time he has tortilla chips.

Yet, by far the hardest difference we deal with every day is the fact that Andy wakes up feeling like this:
While I roll out of bed, looking like this:
By the time evening rolls around, I’m feeling much better:
But Andy’s fading fast:
I have read so many accounts from successful writers who get up at 4 or 5 in the morning so they can get a few hours of writing in before they head off to their day job or other obligations. I have tried to be the early bird writer and I’ve had some success with it, but I need so much coffee to get my eyes to focus at 5:30 am that it doesn’t seem worth the expense in coffee beans. So I take heart that Peter Bowerman say in his book The Well-Fed Writer that a big part of why he’s a freelance writer is so he can start his day at 10 in the morning. I’m not fond of sleeping entire mornings away and I like to get up and at ‘em at a decent hour. I generally have pretty productive mornings, but it’s the end of the day when I’m the most functional.

So when I’m getting my last punch of energy, Andy’s thinking it’s high time to turn in for the night. At an earlier stage in our relationship, it seemed as though our sleep schedules should be compatible. Now it seems silly for us to get up and go to bed at the same times. If one of us is awful in the mornings and the other is cranky and ineffectual in the evening, why would we choose to spend those precious moments together?

Now sometimes when Andy goes to bed, I stay up to read or get some knitting done. I like bringing the day to a quiet close after all the necessary tasks are completed. In the morning, Andy does his internet surfing and coffee making without me complaining (much) about the dirty dishes. Sometimes even the most compatible opposites need to beat to their own drummer.

1 comment:

  1. And sometimes, just recognizing those things makes all the difference, doesn't it?! I always say that I am neither a late night person nor an early morning person. But the middle of the day? I can rock that ;)


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