There is a brilliant scene in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that struck a chord with me when I saw it. No, it wasn’t the one in which Clementine, played by Kate Winslet, erases her memories of boyfriend Joel, played by Jim Carrey. (Note that this would not be a far off assumption, since I saw the movie on a date with the 40-something man who lived under the same roof as his mother and wanted to forget it as fast as I could.)
It was a scene in the very beginning of the movie. If I remember correctly, Joel wakes up in his bed and begins thrashing around until he finally works up enough momentum to get out from under the covers. I think about this scene every morning when my alarm goes off.
I think about it as I nestle deeper under my comforter and blankets and then hit the snooze button. Five minutes later, I hit the snooze again. And then again. Finally, after about 20-30 minutes of warning lights flashing and high pitched bells ringing at me from my Moonbeam alarm clock, I manage to get up — no thrashing, more like rolling over until part of my body falls out of bed and hits the floor. Needless to say, I am not a morning person.
I’ve learned to accept my non-morningness — sort of — along with the fact that my body requires 8 or 9 hours of sleep on a consistent basis to function at its best. This latter part is especially hard to accept because 1) no other adult I’ve ever met needs that much sleep (as a point of reference I would routinely sleep for 13 hours on weekends during my formative years); 2) I have a job that requires me to wake up before, say, noon; 3) I would have to go to bed at about 8:00 each night in order to get my quota, and that’s simply not practical or desirable; 4) I have kids and therefore will not be able to pay off my sleep debt, which is rivaling the national debt, until they’ve moved out of the house (unless T-Rex becomes like my former date); and 5) I’m sure there’s a #5, but I’m too tired to remember it.
So, what’s my point? I recently decided I needed more balance in my life (in lieu of sleep) and more time at home in the evenings, so I asked to work from 8 until 4 instead of 9 to 5. My boss granted me this flexibility with nary a blink, which I’m grateful for — she’s a terrific boss! But truthfully, I have no idea how I’m going to get my tired ass out of bed, showered and dressed, plus the kids up and ready (half of the week), drop them off at daycare, drive 35-40 minutes to work — all by 8:00. No. Idea.
Well, I have an idea and the math is not pretty.
I know people do this all the time. There was a point in my career when I could kind of do it, too…before having kids, before deciding I needed to write books and blogs, before…
Tomorrow’s my first attempt at the new schedule. Wish me luck.