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  • margaretfmadigan

Are You a Sun-thriver or Night Owl?

When I was very little, I’m talking about 4,5,6 maybe, I used to get up really early. So early my parents would tell me to go back to bed, becuase the sun wasn’t up yet. I just wanted to get on with my day, maybe watch some TV. Eventually they said it was ok to go quietly watch TV in the living room. In the 60’s and 70’s there wasn’t a God damn thing on for little kids at 5 or 6 in the morning. There was no Nick Jr. There were 3 channels and you could choose from a preacher asking for money, farm reports, or a black and white movie.

However when I got to be more like 8 or 9 I started to become obsessed with the night. It was odd that I loved night time because it had more interesting entertainment, but going to sleep terrified me. Looking back, I know I started having anxiety at an early age. I would lay there thinking about death. I was afraid of dying. I was afraid the commies would drop the bomb on us. Yea, I was a Cold War anxiety kid.

But I was always wanting to stay up later. I pushed to stay up until 9 to watch Sonny and Cher. I pushed to stay up until 10 on Saturday to watch Love Boat and Fantasy Island. Soon I felt I had somehow entered some secret magical world because I had managed to stay up to watch Johnny Carson on a Friday.

Then I entered nirvana when I managed to stay up to watch that new really cool show “Saturday Night Live”. I was either 10 or 11, it was either end of the first season in 1975 or in the second season in 1976. I heard about it from all my older brothers and sisters. This was the coolest of the cool.  (Of course they were all stoned.) Then at about 12 or 13, I could even make it to Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. I remember sitting on the couch, fighting to stay awake, I wanted to see how late I could make it.

So, really I screwed myself pretty good. I trained myself to be a night person. I could be one of those really productive get-up-at-5am-and-go-to-the-gym types, but noooooo (to quote John Belushi) I have to be one of those I-know-I-have-to-get-up-early-but-I-just-want-to-watch-Letterman-for-a-bit types. I envy folks who prefer 7:30am breakfast meetings. Well not envy, just wish I could be so productive.

Well, I am productive but it’s just at a different time from everyone else. I don’t get my mojo flowing until about 3 in the afternoon. That doesn’t really bode well for a nice office job. If I had my drothers, I’d sleep in until about 9:00am everyday and stay up until 2:00am.

I’ve been reading a book on the creation and very early days of Saturday Night Live (can you tell?). It talks about how the writers would be there all night, they wouldn’t come in until 10:00pm during the week to prep for the show and write material. People would have meetings at 2:00am. Finally I’m thinking to myself, wow I’m not so strange after all.

I’ve also read articles about musicians being in the studio all night long. Could it be that maybe some creative types are just night people? They do their best work at night? I think that’s me. I write better stuff at night I think. At least I think I feel funnier at night. If I’m trying to write the funny, that is. I don’t feel so funny at 8:30am. Also if I get on Twitter at night, the one liners are just flowing from my finger tips. I seem to get more response. Some people still may think my writing blows but at least I “feel” funnier.

Also I can’t help but wonder if we can be naturally programmed as such. My middle child who is now 17 would sleep all day and be up all night when I was pregnant with her. She kept this schedule for the most part until about 16 months old. I tried like crazy to keep her up during the day and all that but I’d put her to bed at 9pm and she’d be up at midnight ready to play for hours. I tried pushing back bedtime and all that… nothing.  It was tiring long ass year. Still now, she would prefer to be up late.

I’m trying to convince myself that it’s ok to be a night person. It’s hard in a world that mostly functions 9-5. Maybe some day I’ll be a full time columnist or author and I can write whenever the hell I want. That’s another thing about writing for deadlines, creativity doesn’t always come “on demand”. Sometimes it’s like rain, you just have to wait until it’s ready to pour. You might get a sprinkle here and there but as they say, “When it rains, it pours”.

By the way, I do my best other kind of work at night too, if you know what I mean. *wink wink nudge nudge* Raise your hand if you’re a morning sex kind of person! Yea, not me. See what I mean?!

Sometimes I think about giving this blog up all together or at least not being so frequent. With my freelance plate getting really full it’s getting harder and harder to come up with extra material and find time to write it. I’ve been contracted to do more articles and I have another book coming out. Maybe it will be shorter with just silly quips or something. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll only write at 9:00pm.

What do you think, do you buy into that whole daytime/nighttime person thing? Or should we all force ourselves to be on the same schedule? Do you work better at certain times of the day? I’m curious… (because I want to set my Peeping Tom schedule) 🙂

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