Bonjour mes chers lecteurs ! Well, I got a little piece of good news this week. As you know, I participated in the Super Challenge over at Yeah Write, and with my essay about my “Pet” books, I was privileged to move on to the second round! For this, I had to write a persuasive essay answering the question “What is the best time of day?” I got some valuable feedback on both essays which I will be trying very hard to incorporate into my writing since they informed me that I am among the ten writers who will move on to the third and final round! I couldn’t believe it when I got the email. I felt like a grade school kid running up to the bulletin board to see if my name was on the list of people who made the honor band. Yes, I said “honor band” and not “cheerleading squad.” I am and always have been a geek. Anyway, here is the essay I submitted for round two. As always, I would love feedback from you too!
I’ll pass on the worms, thank you!
It has been said that “The early bird gets the worm.” I’m sure that is a metaphor, but I’d just like to add, “Ewww!” I myself prefer a nice café au lait and a croissant around mid-morning. As a life-long “night owl,” I have to say that the waning hours are definitely the best time of the day. There are so many people who claim to be missing a certain peace and quiet in their lives. They seek an escape from the frenzied technology-driven overload that life has become in the last couple of decades. I believe that this tranquility can be found by anyone willing to stay up just a few hours later than they usually do.
What is it about those hours after the sun sets? When the shopping malls turn off the lights for the night, and the dinner dishes are dried and put away, it is easier to put distractions far away. “After business hours” is an amazing time. Need to make a dental appointment? Nope, can’t do that until tomorrow. Have a question about your bank account? Well, there’s nothing that can be done about that tonight. Worried about whether or not you left that note on the supervisor’s desk? Oh, well. You’ll find out in the morning.
There are things that can be done after business hours, though. For example, night time is a perfect time to do online continuing education courses. With fewer distractions it can be easier to concentrate on those mandatory online tests. I have to do these every year in my line of work, and I nearly always complete them in the middle of the night. It’s very quiet, especially if I am in a hotel. I find that I get good scores on the tests and it makes me happy not to have to worry about doing them during the day. Public wifi is not bogged down by too many users late at night, and even social media tends to slow down and be less distracting.
If I am left to my own devices I stay up really late. For whatever reason (there is actually science behind it) I get a huge burst of energy around 9pm that can last far into the “wee hours.” If my husband is not home, I have been known to vacuum at midnight. I have become motivated to re-organize all my kitchen cabinets at 10pm. I have cleaned out closets and knitted scarves until 1am. And of course, I have finished reading a lot of books at that time as well.
Actress Catherine O’Hara said that “Night time is really the best time to work. All the ideas are there to be yours because everyone else is asleep.” It’s true! For example, I will use that time to write, or to Zentangle®, or to practice my flute or my piano. Hmm…I guess that last one would be out of the question if you lived in an apartment. In any case, the night time can be very productive! There are even studies that claim night owls are more creative people overall.
There are many famous night owls! Even our current president claims to be a night owl. Close your eyes for a moment. If you had ten seconds to list as many famous paintings as you could think of, would you have named Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” ? Van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother, “I often think that the night is more alive and richly colored than the day.” I think that some of Van Gogh’s paintings can give the viewer an insight into the life of a night owl. I am no Van Gogh, but I find that I do a lot of creative things better after dark.
People who are early risers certainly argue that they have advantages over night owls, and in some ways they are right. The world we live in is geared towards “larks.” The standard work day begins early in the morning for most people. This puts natural night owls at a disadvantage sleep-wise. I did read that there have been studies suggesting that night owls actually require less sleep than early birds, so that’s good!
Early birds claim to have “extra hours” to get things done in the morning. Of course, the same could be said of the night time hours. In fact, I would argue that the hours after work are freer and easier because one does not have that “I have to get to work by…” pressure. My work as an airline pilot requires me to show up at 4am some days and 4pm other days. In this way, I have experienced both ends of the clock. There is nothing so frustrating as getting up early and getting involved in a project only to realize that I can’t finish it because I have to get to work. I end up with a half-finished project and I am rushed to get out of the house. It tends to make me start my work day in a frantic state, which is not a good feeling. How much easier to start that project after work, with no time constraint and the tranquility of the night!
Night-time — fewer distractions, more creativity and productivity! Why not? In brief, I think that some of the people who say they wish for more “me-time” might benefit from taking an excursion into the after sunset hours. Watch the sunset. Not only is it romantic, but it is actually more colorful than the sunrise. After the sun has set, stay awake for a while. Find the rich colors in the night hours that inspired Vincent Van Gogh. It really is the best time of day.