Have you ever noticed that one thing you do day in and day out that'd you'd love to never do again, but it's a habit that you've gotten into and just can't quite seem to shake?
My thing is staying up late. I don't know what's wrong with me. Usually, I'm up to the wee hours playing WoW or watching TV or reading or just staring at the four walls. For some reason when the sun goes down, I get more energy. It's strange.
Even as a child, my mother always called me a night owl. I was born at 8:40 in the evening, so I guess my first exposure to life on this planet were the peaceful nights of the west Texas desert.
I've always loved the evenings. I've spent countless hours sitting next to the window in my office listening to the peaceful sounds of the sprinklers watering the grass below my apartment, or listening to the warm and gentle breezes sweep over the desert after the sun sets. I guess it's what I love about living in Las Vegas the most. It's the fact that after the sun goes down and the heat wanes, it's quite beautiful. There's no sticky humidity in the air, it's just nice.
Another reason that I think I'm more of an evening person is that I love sunsets. Don't get me wrong, I love sunrises too, but I have more affinity for the beautiful golds and purples that surround the mountains with serenity as the sun gently bids them good night. The depth of the field of vision as you look into the distance and see long shadows grow over everything. To me, it's just peaceful.
But, day after day, I find myself staying up far too late for my own good. I think it's because I love the quiet time of the evening, where there's no cars with their screeching tires or honking horns, no loud noises, it's all just silent.
In an interview a while back, done for the Actors Studio, Kiefer Sutherland was asked what his favorite sound was. His answer was the sound of a guitar. Mine is the sound of silence. I love it when things are quiet, peaceful and serene. It's like when people ask me my favorite color. In all truth, looking at my wardrobe, you can see every color imaginable because I can't bring myself to pick a favorite out of the 2 million or so visible shades of color out there. I usually go with saying that my favorites are black and white because they are symbolic of light, it's absence and presence.
I guess that's part of the reason I love the evenings so much. It's the absence of the light we all yearn to live in, but to see it's absence is to appreciate the times when you do have the sun on your face and feel it's warmth wash over you like a loving embrace.
Stars. That's another reason I love nighttime. To go out onto my balcony and look out and see the stars, desperately trying to make out a constellation amongst the light pollution. Sometimes I think about hopping into my Prius and driving out to Red Rock Canyon just to take time to look at the Milky Way and understand how small I really am in the really big picture. Out in the universe there are billions upon billions of stars, galaxies and other celestial phenomenon, then here I am on planet earth with my life that's so tiny in the overall scheme, it makes me realize that the problems I have aren't all that big, and that everything, like the universe, still keeps growing and changing.
But, I think staying up late is the worst of my habits. I just can't quite seem to lay my head down on a pillow like all of the other reasonable people out there who look at the night as a time where they go to dream just because the sun goes down.
Whether it be in the desert where the creepy crawlies come out of their shelters to enjoy the cool desert air or the flowers that would rather bloom in the light of the moon, there are unique creatures everywhere who find solace in the moonlight. I find the night so comforting because I don't look at it as a day dying, but as a whole other entity come to life in the shade of the universe. But while everyone else is dreaming, that's when I'm the most creative and where most of my really great funny stuff comes from as I analyze the day that I've had. But, how can I have funny without getting into the sunlight, interacting with the world and finding what nutritional value is out there that isn't possible to see by the light of the moon?
But then there is the other part. No flowery words or sentences can push away the fact that I'm kind of sad looking at the fact that I'm sleeping alone. I think that's the big part that keeps me out of my bedroom at night. I usually keep myself up to the point of exhaustion so that when my head does finally hit the pillow, I'm asleep shortly after. There are many nights where I've gone to bed just like everyone else, but only to find myself staring at the ceiling, watching the ceiling fan slowly turn while my mind races through everything in my life. My mom is the first one to say, "Take a sleeping pill", but I don't want to deny myself the dreams and comfort of REM sleep that allows my mind to work everything out. But, getting there is hard most nights, so I usually just push myself to exhaustion, knowing that my mind won't race, it will just fall into the land of dreams.
But last night, I took some initiative. I thought of me staying up as a bad habit and took steps to rectify it. Truth told, it wasn't easy. I took a hot shower, relaxed myself by pushing away all of the stressors in my life by reading a bit, then when I felt my mind was adequately relaxed, I turned off the light and after a few minutes of deep relaxing breathing, I finally found myself fast asleep.
I set my alarm for 6am this morning so I could enjoy the day. I have enough love and respect for the night that I figured that the day didn't need to be wasted by me sleeping through it. That I should enjoy the light for a change and by doing so, I could live in the light and enjoy it's unique qualities as well, seeing the things right in front of me that are there to enjoy and savor.
Anyhow, I've got a big day ahead. There is lots of stuff to do and before night comes and brings me back to another battle against my bad habit, so I figure I better get out there and live.
It's the old saying about how you can't break a habit unless you're aware of it and take steps to change. Well, I took a step in the right direction. Let's see how it goes.
One step at a time, always moving forward.