Saturday, July 18, 2015

Night Owl in the Early Bird World


I don't know what association you'll have looking at this outfit, but to me it's African. I have not tried to create this with Africa in mind, but I do admire African bright and bold prints, and when I put this together, it said African to me. Hot and bright sun, blue sky and blue sea, brown earth, tribal prints, chunky jewelry, linen, metal, glass and leather - very rich, very expressive, very organic - and anything but shy.


The last (4th) week of Anya's theater camp is coming to an end with a big triumph - the three performances, last night being opening night. Kids are doing an amazing job, the play is funny and warmhearted, and Anya has one of the bigger parts. She was wonderful - it is her very first big theatrical role (vs. dance performances), she had to memorize many lines, on top of songs and dances. I am so proud of her dedication and courage, she learned so much! Bravo, my little one! I love and admire you endlessly.

After the opening night yesterday.

Anya worked hard this past month, and I worked with her, and am exhausted by now. I'm happy to support her and contribute my time and efforts, no complaints there at all. What kills me is having to change my body's natural rhythm to do it. Though, I started taking better care of myself this week - on Monday Anya and I went to a day spa (sauna, steam room, that sort of thing), I went for a walk, we ate well, and I slept more hours. Sleep was the key to everything. Good sleep is a must! 


I don't think the world recognizes the unspoken and practically universal tyranny of early birds' schedule, and beyond that - the tyranny of so-called rational thinking. It is not a trivial issue because the amount of stress night owls experience is huge and really is unnecessary and easily avoidable. How? By embracing the organic nature of life.  


I am often amazed how many people reject any ideas that do not fit their current way of thinking without any consideration. Does it strike you similarly? You tell them an idea that is new, and they without hesitation find a box in their brain to put it in almost immediately. But it was not one of those old ideas you know you came across before. It was a fresh, completely new idea that has nothing to do with what you know. If the idea does not fit any box, most probably it will be ridiculed, or declared weird, and the result is the same - rejection. 

As much as I celebrate my daughter's achievement today, 
I also celebrate my freedom to live by my own rhythm again! 

What it has to do with living in the world of early birds as a night owl? Everything. The society as a whole is extremely resistant to new ideas. In the dark ages we people had to get up early in the morning, so we had enough daylight to complete all the work. It sounds reasonable and pretty organic for that stage of life. But we invented electricity since then. We did. We invented all sorts of machines and computers that do a lot of work that we do not have to do now. There is really no need for everyone, without exception, to still wake up early in the morning by alarm. The old way of dealing with a schedule is forceful, unnatural, medieval and reminds me of punishment more than anything else. We all are different, we are made differently, and we all deserve a choice.


Think of it this way. Night owls are no more effective when forced to get up early to study and work, then early birds are effective when forced to study and work late in the day, or at night. I wonder how many years (centuries?) it'll take our society to recognize this very simple fact of life and stop being so universally abusive of people with different natural rhythm. Being a night owl does not make people bad, weird or lazy - it only means that we live by a different schedule, it really is as simple as that. Really, what difference it'll make if some of bank operations happen not between 9 and 6, but between 3 and 12, for example? Just some, not all of them. Especially with the world opening up more and more, with the distances getting shorter and shorter. There is always 9 am somewhere in the world... For each night owl customer, there is a night owl provider who'd be happy to get up later and get to work a later shift. Similarly, for each night owl student, there is a night owl teacher. An antique shop that is opened 9 to 6, just like all the banks, just like all the businesses, just like all the schools and kids activities... what sense does it all make, other than rewarding those of us who naturally are awake early in the morning, and silently punishing those of us who naturally go to bed late and therefore wake up later as well? 

I wear these sandals a lot - I find them comfortable and sexy.

On my very first visit to Asia many years ago, one thing struck me - yes, there is a common following the schedule rhythm there. Many families have breakfast at 6 in the morning, lunch at noon and dinner at 6 at night. But at the same time, there is a morning market (and breakfast places) opened at dawn, and there is a day time market, and there is a night market opened till 4 in the morning. It's very organic, very intuitive and really very simple - there is something for everyone, and that's the way it should be.

 Slowly, but surely I am going back to my own kind of normal self again. I don't know how long it will take to get to my own natural schedule, but even just the thought of it feels great!


Photos by Justin

Jacket and jewelry - Chico's (on sale)
Top - Lane Bryant (sale, old)
Skirt - Isabel Toledo for LB (sale)
Sandals - Ecco (sale, via Nordstrom Rack)
Wicker purse - via TJ MAXX (few years old)
Hair - cut on June 23, dyed last time back in March

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22 comments:

  1. I too am a night owl and struggle so much with early starts. Too much of a jolt to the system. So I completely get you wanting to return to your natural rhythm. But the flip side is that I do appreciate sometimes getting up early when it's quiet, before the 'buzz' of the day has started and I can just listen and watch the corner of my world waking up. Especially in summer on days when the morning light is crystal clear. And of course, I find getting up early much easier when I've visiting family in the South of France when that crystal clear light draws you effortlessly out of bed!

    Your necklace is stunning against the leopard print and the purse is just too cute. Bravo to Anya for doing so well with her performances.

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    1. Yes, early mornings are beautiful, I agree! :)

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  2. You always look so relaxed, I'd never think you were running on empty from not enough sleep! I'm glad you've caught up on sleep though :) I'd like to be an early bird but external influences have rendered me a night owl -- it doesn't matter how early you go to bed if your upstairs neighbour is walking around above you on creaky floorboards all night so you can't sleep... Your comments remind me of countries like Spain and Italy, where many places shut down for the afternoon and start up again in the evening (hard to get used to if you come from a country with a more strict 9-5 culture!)

    Anyway, it's funny you should write about this now because I dreamed about you last night! You were living in a house by the sea here in England, by coincidence someone else I knew had lived in the same house before you. I was disappointed because you'd redecorated and got rid of the Eames' wallpaper that my friend had put in a couple of the rooms when she'd lived there (which is funny because to my knowledge the Eames' never actually designed any wallpaper), but the house still looked lovely despite that. We went for a nice walk along the sandy beach and you told me about another place you'd lived in, and it turned out I knew *that* house too because *another* friend had lived there as well... Funny, eh? :)


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    1. Well, I have my moments, of course, but mostly I'm a relaxed person. But your dream, Anna!! Isn't it wonderful? I'm sure that I looove living in England by the sea, in a beautiful house where your friend used to live - even if only in your dream! Sorry that I disappointed you with my redecoration a little - what was I thinking? :) I just love the symbolism of your dream - houses, friends, walking on a sandy beach... Thank you for sharing it with me, you made my day!

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  3. Love your pretty African-inspired outfit, these are your colours for sure. And congratulations to your daughter on her achievement. As for early birds.. I'm a night owl, always have been, and as a freelancer I can often choose my working hours. Of course, I prefer to work in the evening, and start my days in a more relaxed manner, waking up when I feel like it. Unfortunately, I sometimes also have to work in mornings, but at least it's just a couple of days a week. I don't think how I would cope with early mornings 5 days a week, I would probably never sleep...

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    1. I know, Tiina, it's tough for us - I studied and worked for many years too, and now when I'm mostly the one who decides when and what I do, it was hard to go back to living "on the clock"... but it was worth it, no doubt.

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  4. Dear Natalia, You're right. Congratulations to Anya :) I understand that you are proud.
    This outfit is africa inspiriert and very amazing.
    Have a nice sunday
    Xoxo Tina

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  5. Congrats to Anya and her dedicated Mother!
    We have night owls here too. Mr Artist is now entering teenage hood and seems to have adapted the sleep patterns that come with that, waking at noon in the holidays. I wonder why they don't start high school later to adapt to this?
    I have had to adapt to Bushy's night owl schedule or I never see him! We sleep in on weekends to catch up :-)
    All the best with your rhythms! Xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. I know what you mean about adapting to someone's schedule - of course, we do it because, well, there are priorities, right? And I think that there will be schools etc in the future that have flexible schedule and different options for different folks. Interestingly enough, the teenage group started their camp later than kids' group in our theater camp!

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  6. such a beautiful color combo and fabulous mixed prints, lovely outfit, and lovely african vibe too!
    I've been a night owl for most of my life, always waiting to work and study when everybody was sleeping (but it was more a space problem than a timetable option). It was nice for me, but I'm a working girl now, and I've realized I like mornings too. I'm not a night owl anymore and I miss it. And I've been always a huge fan of great cities where you can do whatever you want anytime, going to the cinema in the morning or buying a book in the midnight. That's civilisation!!
    besos

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    1. Yes, it's easier in big cities - small towns close their shops at 5 or 6 pm around here (except for chain stores).

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  7. Live theater with any cast is a treat, but with your daughter I am sure even more wonderful. Love the African inspired print and detailing of your outfit. I had previous co-workers from Somalia who covered their heads with such gorgeous fabrics and also had skirts that swept the floor, again in vivid prints and colors. I think I am probably an early bird now-since I went back to work after third child and worked a compressed work week, fitting a full week + into 4 days, I had to adjust my clock and it never went back in 14 years. Now I am lucky if I can stay up past 10:00, even on weekends.

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    1. There is such a thing as a force of habit, of course, and when I used to study and then work for many years, I also had to adapt to the business hours schedule. But I never, ever go to bed at 10 pm on a regular basis. Even midnight is still early for me, and it's for almost as long as I can remember myself.
      I loooove those African ladies in their colorful clothes - I can't take my eyes of them when I see them!

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  8. congratulations to anya!! bravooo!!
    and i pet your back for being brave and getting up early for weeks. i´m like a chicken - i went to bed and get up with the sun - which really means that i sleep only a few ours at midsummer and a lot more, sometimes 10h in winter. but i like to get up until 8:00 - i get a lot more done if i start long before noon. and even on long summer days i seldom work longer then 18:00.... if i can choose, of cause, thats not always possible.
    your exotic ensemble is super chic! i can hear the drums :-)
    hugses!!! xxxxxx

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    1. You live by your natural rhythm, and that's the whole point of my post. :) xxxx

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  9. Well done Anya! And well done Justin as these are stunning photos. You are glowing and looking radiant in your happiness, the sunshine and the warm colours that suit you so well. I love the embroidered texture and pattern in that jacket! I think you are quite right about people having different natural rhythms and that there should be a way to make that work in our society, though I suspect it is down to saving money in many cases. It will cost more to open and run a business 24 hours a day. Already though, in my own lifetime I have seen changes in the hours of many shops. They were not even open on Sundays in my childhood and we take for granted now that they will be and even on most holidays. Even in my smallish town the traffic is steady on our busiest roads at surprising hours. I live near one and because I have sleep troubles I can tell you that there is only a brief lull between midnight and 3am, otherwise people are steadily going somewhere and doing something in their cars.
    Speaking of natural rhythms I have totally lost sight of what my natural ones are. I am all over the place now but I used to be up at 6am and asleep by 10 regularly. xoxoxo

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    1. I'm so glad you took time to appreciate the embroidery and details! I think it's a gem of a jacket. One of very rare ones! I think I will wear it for many years.

      Not all businesses have to be open 24/7. Some stores can be open early, and others start they day later. That's the point - we all are different, stores owners included. :) I just think that there is a more organic way of living than doing everything by the clock. There should be options - we are people too, we night owls. :) xxxx

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  10. Congratulations to Anya on her achievements, ably supported by her dedicated mother. Hope your body is returning to its normal pattern , I always find it takes an age to get it back. A definate warm African vibe happening here, the detail on jacket is so eye catching. I must say the setting for the photos is stunning, with the beautiful hanging flower baskets.xx

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    1. Thank you, Jill! I think it'll take a few more days, or even weeks to go back to normal. I was surprised how resistant my body was to change to an earlier schedule - it took over 3 weeks just to convince it to get to bed earlier, and I still did not wake up naturally even during the last 4th week. Now I'm up at 7 again - even though I can sleep all I want... It's just such a shock for our body to get up when it's not ready. I don't think people who naturally are happy to wake up early can fully understand it - it's just not what they experience at all.

      I love this jacket. I'm happy that you appreciate it! I think I might be better with a smaller size, but on the other hand, I like loose fit to, so I decided to leave it (bought it online, so wasn't sure with sizing, it's not consistent).

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  11. I absolutely love this bold mix of prints...to me it also speak Africa...and I just love Africal patterns and bold prints! .....congrats to Anya on the performance and everything!

    I'm not sure can I say that I too am a night owl but very often I am...from time to time I do like to get up early in the morning and breathe the morning air...but if I have been working all night than it is an absolute torture having to get up at dawn....and my husband always wakes me up early in the morning just because that is when he always gets up. I don't think the world would be harmed if I slept in late from time to time and I'm sure I would benefit from sleeping 8 hours a day at least occasionally.

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    1. Ivanochka, talk to your husband, you both need to take care of you! I of course got up early when I worked and when I raised my daughter, and we had to be at school early in the morning (she is a night owl just like me, and as a little kid slept till 9 am every single morning - no sleepless nights for this mother at all). But for the past few years, both Anya and Justin let me sleep - their idea, not mine. They just wake up when they need and quietly go about their business.

      That's the whole point of my post - I don't think early birds, those who naturally and happily wake up early in the morning, rise and shine, understand what shock we experience since our early childhood! I remember asking my parents to not take me to kindergarten early in the morning. In Siberia, it is dark in the mornings for almost half of the year, and it is cold, and you have to get out there, not fully awaken yet, every single morning, year after year - school, university, jobs, it never ever ends! I'm not talking about changing business hours to 24/7, that's not the point at all. We just all have to recognize that there are plenty of people who are tortured by the society's unnecessary and cruel way of dealing with schedules. No wonder there are so many grumpy, unhappy and sick people around - they live against their nature for the whole of their lives... Early mornings are beautiful, and I love them, but I want it to be my choice to see a sun rising.

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