Friday, November 16, 2007

Please Wake Me I'm Sleeping In!

Like most kids, I loved to wake up early in the morning and watch Saturday morning cartoons. Nothing could jump start the carefree joys of an elementary school kid's weekend like a couple hours of animated fun. It was usually around 7 or 8 am, when I'd roll out of bed, grab a blanket, head downstairs, and settle in for quality time with the TV.

Even though I was always told to get off the kitchen counters, most Saturdays I'd find myself scaling the cabinets, like a mountain climber on a steep cliff wall, in search of some Golden Grams or Puffed Rice (I was a weird kid). I'm still impressed I never fell backwards and cracked my head open on the counter. But for a third grader with an active imagination the risk was worth it. I was a big kid who could make her own breakfast!

What really surprises me though is that throughout my entire span of waking up at the crack of dawn to watch cartoons, I never fell back asleep. This is a shock because now, I can hardly stay awake sitting up in the morning, let alone laying down on the couch all comfortable and cozy. My brain today seems to think that if the clock still reads "AM" then its completely acceptable for me to still be asleep. I hate to say it but I am a lazy ass when it comes to getting up in the morning. This comes as a real shocker to all of you out there who know me, I'm sure. But this trait is not something I'm proud of. What happened to that kid who was so resilient against the Sandman? At what point did I stop prioritizing awesome, hilarious, infinitely beautiful Saturday morning cartoons over a few extra hours of sleep?

I guess feeling tired in the morning comes with the territory of being an adult. Now that I am "full grown" I find myself watching people when I'm out in the city. I tend to make eye contact with many strangers throughout the day and I've found that a good portion of us working stiffs are dreadfully tired looking. I once had ride a commuter train to and from one of my jobs. I named it the Nap Time Express. About five minutes into the trip about half of us were asleep. Me, I could usually be seen in the back corner with my head back, jaw dropped, and drool running down my chin. Ask almost anyone, and they will tell you one things they wish they had more time for: sleep.

Sleep is essential and it feels good, but it keeps us back. One of my old bosses, who was a small business owner, once said, "If I didn't have to sleep, most of my business problems would go away!" I'm sure a lot of us with busy schedules wish we didn't have to dedicate at substantial portion of our day to lying down unconscious. The act of sleeping appears to be so inefficient! You're just lying there, doing nothing, accomplishing nothing! Of course, thanks to science we know sleep is a busy time for the mind, but in excess its just as pointless as picking your nose!

Thus I come to the meaning behind the title to my blog: You Can Sleep When You're Dead. That grouping words is one of my Dad's favorite. He loved to say this to me in the mornings when I had returned home for the summers. Of course, being the typical 19 year old, I'd sleep in till about noon or 1pm, go downstairs grab a bite, and then head back up to my room intending to watch some TV, only to fall back asleep till around 3pm. I'm sure it was hard and frustrating for him to see my squander my youthful days away. After all, he had to get up at 5am! But now, that I am really trying to do something with my life (not just sleepwalk through it), I understand the wisdom behind his statement. When I'm on my deathbed and I look back on my life I know for certain I will not make the statement, "Geeze, I wish I would have slept more." As essential for the body eight hours of sleep is, it still is time you are losing. It is time you spend out with your friends. It could be time you spend reading a great book. It could be time you spend with your partner. It could be time you spend playing with your daughter. It could be time you spend bettering your life. Sleeper's Remorse, is a horrible feeling, it almost feels like guilt. But once we all understand we have plenty of time sleep when we're dead we will be compelled to get up and get out there!

Now, I'm not claiming to be a sans sleep saint. I can almost never resist an extra couple of hours if I can manage it. There is a distinct line between practice and preach. I'm merely speaking in ideals, ideals I hope to one day embody. So with one succinct sentence lies a very important lesson in life, "You Can Sleep When You're Dead."

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