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I’ve lived most of my life as a night owl. Lately, though, I can’t keep my eyes open past 11 p.m., and that’s on a good day. I’ve been heading to bed earlier and earlier and frankly, I’m terrified.
For most of my life, I’ve functioned on five to six hours of sleep. In high school, I played a lot of sports and video games, so at most, I got six hours during the week. College included many drunken nights that could be at best classified as drunk sleep for a few hours of shut eye. Up until recently, I’d be watching sports, reading shit online or out late grabbing drinks, but in the past few months, I’m down for the count by 10:30.
Maybe that’s what normal people do. Maybe my lifelong habits have caught up with me? This is terrifying, as my already sports injured body sounds like pop rocks walking up and down stairs and I need several beers and an ibuprofen or two after any athletic endeavor. Falling asleep on the couch, not being able to stay awake to catch up on TV shows or even stay out until the wee hours of the morning have taken a mental toll on me.
It saddens me knowing my once prided ability to run on a few hours of sleep is coming to an end. No matter how much I drank, how late I stayed up or whether I had to drive a friend to the airport, I would always be firing on all cylinders with any given amount of sleep. Hell, I never even had to drink coffee either. Just the high of life and personal conviction to be all I could no matter my amount of sleep.
Now I’m basically a shell of myself. Gone is the ability to run the gauntlet like I did in grad school, pound beers all night, show up hungover and give it 110%. If I get banged up the night before, I’m definitely mailing it in that day. I haven’t showed up hungover to work in ages, though. Maybe I’m out of practice and if you don’t use it, you lose it. I feel like Charles Barkley in Space Jam, and I’d honestly give anything to get it back.
While this sucks, it hasn’t been all bad. The extra sleep has been nice as I feel more well rested. I’m still firing on all cylinders and I’m unfortunately still a morning person. I probably appear to have my shit together, but in the end, it’s just a façade of my former self. What really sucks eggs is when we’re having a party or get together and I’m ready to head out way earlier than everyone else. I’ve tried the coffee route to stay awake, but coffee and beer are a dangerous and precarious mix, especially if you throw in some greasy food. I’m not saying that I spent an hour in the bathroom at a recent grill out, but children definitely heard me praying to any and all gods to make it stop and I’d be lying if that were the first time that has happened to me.
Getting old is weird. Saying you’re getting old when you’re 28 is also weird, as we’re not really that old. But I definitely feel it way more than I used to. I feel like I lost an integral part of myself and it ain’t coming back. I used to rock and roll all night and party every day. Then it was every other day… now I’m lucky to find half an hour a week in which to get wild. I’ve got to get out of this rut and back into the groove..
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