Balancing Act

As time disappears into nothing more than brief flashbacks, I find myself wondering where the heck this summer has gone – and then it comes to me…  I’ve spent most of my summer trying either to be asleep or awake, neither of which has been much of a success.  Nightshift.  Extra shifts.  It’s not that I’m ALWAYS at work – it’s that the futile attempt of fitting a nightshift life into a dayshift world has left me hopelessly unbalanced.  So why do I do it?  Good question.

The easiest answer is the extra money.  (You didn’t think we all sacrificed our sleep for free, did you?)  The less politically appropriate answer is bureaucracy, by definition “the organizational structure, procedures, protocols, and set of regulations in place to manage activity in large organizations.”  At night, all of the people responsible for this go home and it is amazing how much more efficient the workplace becomes.  We still follow rules, protocols and regulations but it’s without the chaos and banter of policy writers around.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  It’s actually enjoyable.

It takes me a solid two nights off to begin pretending I’m the least bit awake before noon.  In truth, it takes a full 3-4 nights off to actually wake up before noon without an alarm clock.  We’ve all experienced Jet Lag a time or two in our lives switching time zones on vacation – well, offset your life by 12 hours and that is my time zone.  I am hungry at midnight, I am sleepy at sunrise and I am mentally just waking up around 6 pm.  I usually go to sleep by 8 am and my alarm is set between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm – which still usually feels two hours too early for me.  I crave coffee between 7 pm and midnight and I don’t really feel chatty until after 9 pm. 

For now, this is the way life is and instead of asking everyone else to change their lives for me, I do my best to accommodate them by sacrificing precious sleep.  This is not without consequence, though.  My mood, my memory and my ability to think clearly pay the price.  I spend those rare daylight hours I’m off and awake trying to cram in as many tasks and events as I possibly can – and on those nights I can’t sleep (most of them) I try to keep in touch with friends and family via Facebook. 

I don’t think it will be like this forever.  I look forward to the day that my eyes are not stinging, my ears are not ringing and my digestive tract knows what to expect.  It would be nice to get at least 8 hours of sleep within a 24 hour period more than 2 days in a row without neglecting resposibilities or letting friends and family down.  Right now, it’s just not a possibility — so I hold on to the dream of balance and just do the best that I can. 

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