My dad lived by the Ben Franklin quote “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise”. I wouldn’t be wealthy if I had a dollar for each time I heard him say those words but I could probably buy dinner for all of you and your families. I didn’t get that dollar so don’t get your hopes up, I’m not buying dinner.
I would never question dad’s wisdom, although being an extremely quiet person he never shared a lot of it. If his bedtime schedule provided wealth, I shudder to think how poor we would have been if he was a night owl. I also believe kicking the cigarettes forty years sooner would have had a more positive impact on his health than going to bed early. Dad has been gone almost 28 years; he suffered from emphysema and heart failure. He was a few months the other side of 79; I still miss him.
Sorry Ben, I never bought in to your quote; I have always been something of a night owl. My work schedule forced me to accept the early to rise part; I didn’t get wealthy but I did manage to buy groceries and pay the bills. Maybe my writing is an indicator of my wisdom; you can form your opinion and if you must comment, please humor me. Today my health is okay for a 70-year-old night owl, that is all I will say because I know too well how suddenly one’s health can go the other way.
I think getting up early because I had to, not because I wanted to, labeled me an early morning grump. I don’t really think I was grumpy I just don’t like to communicate for the first hour or so I am up. Sharyl respected that, actually, accepted might better define her feelings. I think the sound of the door closing as I left for work was the alarm or signal to start her day. Weekends required a little special handling; we didn’t start a Saturday with a leisurely chat over a cup of coffee. I didn’t chat that early and Sharyl didn’t drink coffee. By the time the girls got up I was usually over the grumps, I tried to think of a word other than grumps, I guess maybe the grumpy title was appropriate. They would proceed with caution until they were sure I was okay.
Thank god she didn’t quote Ben as often as Dad did but Sharyl was kind of a closet believer of the early to bed concept. I respected or at least accepted that and didn’t initiate idle conversation after about 9:00pm; unless it was important I let her take the lead in those late conversations. We discussed important family matters after 8am to accommodate me and before 9pm to fit her schedule. This is just another example of the little things that made it work for forty-six years.
After she got sick and I became her primary caregiver, the previous 43 years of sleep patterns went out the window. Those of you having been in the role of caregiver including new mothers can relate to disrupted sleep patterns. We had some of our more meaningful and memorable conversations between 9:00pm and 6:00am; there was no longer a place for my hour of morning quiet time. I tried to rest when she slept and to be there and not be grumpy when she was awake. I did better at being there when she was awake than I did at resting when she slept, I probably didn’t get enough sleep but I have no complaints.
The past seven or eight months I have tried to reestablish an acceptable sleep pattern. I haven’t had a lot of success. Most nights for the first few months I slept about 4 or 5 hours between about 1:00am and 5:00 or 6:00am. I had Ben’s early to rise thing down; I just couldn’t make the early to bed part work. Recently I have been sleeping about six hours, however I am still awake until about 1:00 am, I just sleep a little later. My goal is to get to sleep before midnight and sleep until about six thirty. I wonder if that would meet Ben’s criteria for “Early to bed and early to rise”. Maybe I’ll try that tomorrow, it is already 12:30 and I have a few things I need to do before I go to bed and I’m really not sleepy.
Please keep me in your prayers.
Good Night and God Bless.