The other night Mike and I were having dinner with some friends, two of whom were a daughter and father who own and operate a business together. The father was teasing his daughter because he is always in the office by seven in the morning and it takes her all the way until five after eight to get there.
Mike and I looked at each other out of the corners of our eyes and giggled. That is not the type of self-employment arrangment we have. Giggle giggle.
Back when I used to dream about what it would be like to be unemployed with no official office hours, I would imagine that my sleep schedule would become more like that of a cat. Sure I might get less than eight hours of sleep on occasion – I might stay up late and have an appointment in the morning – but I could surely spring to life full of cheer after only five or six hours with the knowledge that I could go back to bed later in the day and work off the difference the evening, right? A little napping here and there and I can truly be the master of my own destiny. That’s what cats do! Why can’t I?
It turns out that eight million years of human evolution would argue otherwise. I am human, so I want to sleep all at once and deeply, and I don’t want to go back and have to make up for missed hours later.
In fact, the opposite has turned out to be true: I must get eight hours of sleep all at
once or I am a disaster. When you’re forced to be in an office or out and about on business, adrenaline can do amazing things for a human body on five hours of sleep. Guess how much adrenaline is a factor when you’re typing on a couch with a dog snoring on your leg? Yeah, that would be none.
Let’s be clear that I am not complaining. Honestly, the fact that my new life demands I take care of my sleep needs is pretty awesome. I suspect I’ll get a few extra months added on to the end of my life as a result, or at least an extra year without those weird old lady freckles on the backs of my hands. It’s also good to be reminded that I am not a cat. Often my talent for murdering houseplants makes it appear otherwise.