This morning I got up at 9:45, 15 minutes after I nominally start work. I had woken up at 6:45AM, which is 15 minutes prior to my desired rising time. I remember taking a long moment at that earlier hour to consider getting up before deciding to let myself doze until my alarm sounded at 7. And then hitting snooze. And again. And again. And then dismissing my alarm entirely.
When I was working on my degree, I missed a physics exam for similar reasons. At the time I was almost certainly suffering from a case of clinical depression and untreated sleep apnea, not to mention a rapidly-developing case of gaming addiction. I think I lived in an on-campus apartment at the time, although it’s hard to remember 15+ years on.
The only thing that remains of the exam incident is the deep frustration and sadness I felt at realizing I had actually slept through something that mattered. I loved physics. I still do. I remember finding the professors I had for that course profoundly boring, but the flexible-sheet model of charge remains bright in my memory to this day.
Right now I have a job I’m fairly good at and that compensates me fairly well for my time. This late-rising nonsense is antithetical to the role I play there, but they tolerate it for the moment. I have a woman that loves me and that I love. I have a mortgage, which poses a steadfast demand for me to fulfill my obligations.
I’ve been trying to make this connection my whole life, it seems. Getting up early gives me the half hour I need to work out and guarantees the hour I need to be creative each day. Yet I don’t manage it with any kind of reliability. At times I feel like there are two people in my head – the one that wants to sleep (or eat, or game), and the “real” me.
Some folks would say that I am offloading blame. I suppose I am, in a sense. But I acknowledge that fact in hopes that I mitigate it to some extent. I don’t know how to make my brain cooperate. Fully awake, I deeply regret my half-conscious decisions, but the regret does not change things one whit.
Planning is the key, or so I’m told, but I’ve tried switching things up. I’ve put the alarm in other places, including outside of my room (no longer a practical option since my partner sleeps poorly to begin with). I’ve used multiple alarms. I’ve started projects that I am actually excited about. I’ve tried to move my sleep schedule. None of it has lasted past a couple of weeks.
There’s some part of me that simply fails this basic test. I wish I had a hopeful note to end this on, but I don’t. Sometimes failure isn’t making you better, it’s just making you fail.
I still feel good about my life. About the directions it’s headed. About the milestones I’m achieving and the dreams I’m dreaming. About the people around me. But that deep frustration, that sense of disconnection, persists. It haunts me.
At times I have felt the need to accept that this is something I cannot change, that I can only “route around” this problem. Many of my self-employment thought experiments are based on that notion; at times I fear for the day that my efforts to build my own business will crumble when I become shackled to the common routine by my own creations. At times I fear for the day when I have children to account for.
Perhaps these things won’t come to pass. Perhaps they will work out better. Perhaps I will find something in myself when they do come to pass.
All I can do for now is keep trying.