Go the Fuck to Sleep. In an hour.

It’s the title of my alarm in the evenings, as seen in Figure 1, an alarm I used to set daily earlier this year. The purpose is to give myself a hard time to step away from screens and analytical tasks, prepare for the next day, and go to bed. But, as happens when you sit on the edge of the wagon, sometimes you hit a bump and fall off. Samuel Jackson’s voice is sometimes in my head when I read that alarm title.


Figure 1. Go the Fuck to Sleep. In an hour.


So, I’m attempting to get back on the wagon. It’s not easy, though. Staying up to midnight is an incredibly casual experience, while going to sleep at 8:45 is not. Getting to where 4:45 is a normal time to wake isn’t nearly as comfortable as getting to where 9:00 is. Social norms are of no help; almost no one wakes that early, and since most people sleep far fewer than 8 hours per night, even fewer go to bed early enough (that is, 8:45) to get that. Partner schedules can be in the same boat. I want to note that, most nights, I fall asleep in about 5 minutes or less.


Social events happen in evening hours, while 5:00 is a mythical morning time most have only heard of in legend. In the early days of reforming this routine, the habit is incredibly fragile, too. Last Saturday, Sera’s work had a holiday party, and we went to bed at 2:00. The next night, I tried to go to bed at 9:00, but couldn’t fall asleep until midnight, and woke at 10:30. The next day, I went to bed at 10:00, but didn’t wake until 8:30. Tonight, I’ll try again. Tomorrow is Wednesday.


But, I have to try. It’s part of living more intentionally. That is, making self-aware, critical choices about my actions with goals in mind rather than just doing what I’ve been doing and getting what I’ve always gotten.


A note on that. Living intentionally, or living with intention, sounds both ethereal and arrogant to me: ethereal because of my association of the word intention with yoga, and arrogant because it implicitly carries the assumption that those who don’t are just sheep. Neither is true, and both miss the point. The idea isn’t outwardly comparative; it’s not about being more or better than someone else. Instead, it’s inwardly comparative; it’s about being more or better than you are.


Anyway, it’s nearly 7:30 now, which means it’s been dark here in Seattle’s rainy December for over 3 hours, and I have a lot to get done before bed time. Wish me luck.

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