I’m no good at staying up late anymore. Yet another conclusion I’ve come to in my middle years. Not that I ever liked staying up late anyway. Y’see I’m a morning person. In my youth my limit for staying up late was usually somewhere around 2 AM. That meant that wherever I was I wanted to be out of there by 2 AM. That would be considered staying out late for me. Of course sometimes I was out past that time but that usually meant I was out too late.

As I said I’m a morning person. That means I’m up early every day regardless of how late I go to bed. I can’t sleep in. Not possible. When the morning comes I’m up. If I got no sleep the night before then I’ll be dragging all day. Maybe I can sneak a nap in but I have to be careful with naps. A morning or early afternoon nap is fine but if starts to get late in the day then a nap isn’t advisable as it will just keep me up that night. Beware any nap where it’s light out when you fall asleep and dark out when you wake up.

My recovery time has also lengthened over the years. It used to take me a couple of days to feel normal after losing sleep but now it’s more like five days. And I’m not even talking about staying up late partying. I’m not a drinker so I don’t have any hangover to recover from. I’m talking about recovering from just the loss of sleep.

I don’t even stay up working late as a lot of freelancers I know do. I’ve always managed to get the job done without staying up late. Of course if the job meant staying up late I might not even take it. A lot of the freelancers are night owls anyway and like to be up late drawing or some such into the wee hours. They’re night time people and like the quiet. Not me. From about 7:30 AM until around 2:30 PM are my best hours. Not that I can’t get things done at other hours it just takes more effort as I’m usually not at my sharpest.

Where staying up late really kills me is when trying to do my own art work. It takes a lot of motivation, concentration, and energy to work on art when there is no pay involved. It’s easy to stay up late and then go into the office and be a bit of a zombie all day. Tired or alert you have to be there anyway. Doing the job might be a bit harder but as long as no one’s life is at stake it usually doesn’t matter. Plus there are coworkers around to cover for you.

It’s not even too bad for me to get my freelance work done if I’m tired. Sure it’s harder and there is no one to cover for me but it has to be done so I may as well do it. It’s not going to do itself. I find it easier to get work done and then goof off then to goof off when I have work to do.

No, the reason I find it so hard to stay out late is that then I can’t get any of my own work done. That’s the first thing to go when I’m tired. My motivation to work on my own art. It all seems so pointless when I’m tired. I look at my paper, paints, canvas, computer, or whatever and see no reason to pick any of them up. The effort takes more energy than my tired self has.

If I stay out late on a Saturday night I can count on not getting anything significant done until Wednesday or even Thursday. It slows me down. Plus it’s real easy to give up and do nothing but watch TV. I see a lot of people do that and the reason is because they’re tired. Mostly from the nine to five grind but also from not sleeping. The two do go hand in hand.

I’ve actually known people, night owls usually, who stay up late at night just because it’s their own time and not their employer’s time. They’re not staying up late doing anything that takes self motivation but just staying up. Often playing video games. The sacrifice of being tired all morning at work was no sacrifice at all for them because they didn’t really want to be at work anyway. And being awake and alert at work in the morning would not be an improvement in their eyes anyway.

But I can’t do that. Self motivation takes a lot of energy. Making things takes a lot of energy and work. In some ways I’d like to live a languid lifestyle staying up late and never putting much energy into anything. Watching instead of doing, going to shows, reading a lot, and generally not thinking about much. But I really like making stuff. So therefor I don’t like staying up late anymore. Think I’ll got to bed.