"Nothing good ever happens after midnight." My mother always said this to me growing up whenever I questioned (what I thought) was my harsh curfew. I think she said it because her mother said it to her. I always disagreed. I knew for a fact that all cool people did cool things after midnight. It is the bewitching hour: There is true love's kiss to experience, werewolves to turn, glass slippers to be lost and spells to be broken. Something magical is bound to happen just as the clock strikes 12. Something is different. Everything is different. If we are awake when it happens, then we will know the secrets, too.
As a working adult, I find later hours somewhat less alluring on weeknights ... but the teenager who will forever rebel inside me, fueled by the hours I spend with adolescents each day as a junior high teacher, still fights to stay awake until at least 12 am each and every night. Even on a school night.
Tonight, I'm at that point where I could get into bed, read a book, get a fantastic night's sleep and wake up refreshed in the morning ...or I could sink further into the abyss of my living room and stumble back to my room at 1 am or later, knowing full well I have to wake up at 6:30 am and teach all day. Knowing full well that if I do in fact stay up, I'll spend all day tomorrow grumbling at my students, forgetful, bleary-eyed and wondering why I just did that to myself again.
I have always been nocturnal. Some people bound out of bed, ready to face the day, full of ideas and energy. I find them a wee bit obnoxious. But I am one of those people who sets her alarm a full half-hour before she actually needs to physically get out of bed, so she can hit "snooze" several times. (This may also be related to the undying rebellion.) But this same girl will gladly stay up to blog about mini-animals while watching "Planet Earth" or get under the covers and read the same Jane Austen book I've read fifty times already.
Because when I am home from work, after I have exercised, showered, studied, eaten dinner, scrounged up some chocolate and am finally sitting down ... when the television is off and the kitchen is quiet and my roommates are asleep and I can actually hear a clock physically "tick ... tock ... tick ... tock..." I find this time is my own personal nook in the world, where anything is possible.
This is when I become thoughtful and look up old friends and send messages and texts. This is when I look at grad school in England, browse Craigslist employment in Miami, and calculate how long until my student loans are paid off. When I figure out the chords to that one song from that one movie. I look at flight prices to New Zealand and Spain. This is when my mind can freely wander, my heart is soft, and an old song comes on and makes me cry. I want to read for hours, practice calligraphy, donate money to the nearest cause and learn how to knit.
This is when I think I am a songwriter, a poet, a chef, a writer, a dreamer, a creature of mystery unlike any other.
This is when I write and it feels like the one thing I'm doing right in my life right now. Even just for a moment. And I can dream about publishing a book, and another book, and more and more books, and buying a house on the Mediterranean, typing all day long in a bathrobe, drinking wine for breakfast with sausage and eggs, milkshakes for lunch, naps in the afternoon and spending time with friends.
You early morning go-getters can keep your daytime. I want to relish the night.
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