31 Days of Aging Gracefully: Day 19 — Letting Go


Here is a small, but interesting lesson I’m learning right now. Sometimes when we give something up, when we let go of it, we find something else to take its place. For me these last few months, the ‘giving up,’ or ‘letting go,’  has been late night TV watching and/or reading. As I mentioned in an earlier post in this series, our trip to Kauai in July brought a change in my body clock after we returned home.

So I can’t really say that I made a conscious, sacrificial decision to ‘let it go.’ It just went. We were packing and schlepping right after we got home and I was beyond tired much of the time. It was also the dead of summer, when there isn’t much that’s decent on the television and most of my friends’ new books hadn’t yet been released. So if I was tired, I went to bed. And most nights, I went to sleep, pretty quickly.

I no longer needed those late hours to help me find some solitary space. I’m not sure why I no longer needed that, but I know that it’s true. Instead of waiting for my usual second wind kind of experience in the evenings, I just paid attention to my sleepiness quotient and went to bed when I reached my limit. 

What a novel idea!

Yes, sometimes I am unbearably slow. Or stubborn. Or something.

So most nights since the end of July, I’ve been in bed, on my way to sleep by 10:00 p.m. You need to know that this is record setting for me. When my children were tiny, I routinely stayed up until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., just to have some quiet space. I often did crafts or read or watched Johnny Carson. I just needed some time in my own house when I was alone and not ‘on call’ to anybody else. So I took it where I could get it — and those late hours came quite naturally to me.

I do realize that three months do not a new person make and I’m watching and waiting to see if the old habits will creep in once again. Occasionally, I do stay up until 11:00 or 11:30 — but unless I’m battling insomnia (which, for me, takes the form of a maddening inability to fall asleep more than wakefulness once asleep), I’m usually sawing logs by 10:30. 

Radical idea, right?

Yes, actually, for me — it is.

But here’s the flipside, the bonus, the gift-I-wasn’t-expecting: I’m up with the sun most days.

Say, WHAT???

Yup. This night owl is up with that sun. And I’m rewarded with an occasional view like the one at the top of this post. Glory in the morning, oh, YEAH. I’m liking this trade-off!

What are you letting go of these days? Or what do you think you might need to let go of?

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  1. Diana, I’ve been noting a change in my body rhythms, too, as of late. I’ve never been a night owl, but have always gotten up naturally between 6:30 and 7:00. Today, like too many others recently, I haven’t roused until 8:00 in the morning. Maybe it’s aging or the time spent travelling to my mother’s that has upset my “usual” schedule, but this early bird is having trouble adjusting. Glad to know I’m not alone, and praying the rhythm I’ve enjoyed for years will kick in once again because sunrises are a blessing! May you enjoy and savor your new sleep habits, too!

    • I have a hunch it’s a kind of exhaustion from care-giving, Martha. I’ll bet you’ll start waking earlier very soon!

  2. Lol – I was congratulating myself last night because I managed to make it to bed by 10pm! I’m the same as you, staying up late just to get some ‘by myself’ time. Although since my youngest went to school and I get to have the house to myself most days, I don’t have the same desperate need for that alone time as I used to have… but I still like it. 🙂 However, often I find I’m staying up late for the rather ridiculous reason that I’m too tired to go to bed! Think I need to do something about that.

    • I stuck with those late hours even after I didn’t ‘need’ them as much – it just came naturally. But I’m grateful to be living at the opposite end of the day a little better now. And YES – you need to do something about being too tired to go to bed, Donna. Yes, you do. 🙂