24 Hour Life

It was only recently that I realized I live a 24-hour life.

I woke up with a jolt after having fallen asleep late one night while studying with my boyfriend. As I packed up my bag to go back to my dorm, barely able to keep my eyes open, I told him he should get some sleep, too.

“I can’t,” he said.

“Why not?”

“I have to put my clothes in the dryer, and the machine doesn’t open for another 30 minutes.”

“You need sleep.”

“I know. I’m going to set an alarm. I’ll just get up and put them in.”

It was 2:00 am.

Mid-night alarms, cat naps between classes, work-outs at 11 p.m. I feel like every bit of every 24 hours is open for scheduling, and sleep is just another item on the task list.

Perhaps this is typical, perhaps this is becoming an adult.

Perhaps this is a problem.

It’s not that I don’t have time to relax. It’s that I’m never done. There is always something else to do, somewhere else to go, someone else to see. Relaxation is forced and overhung by a cloud of responsibilities.

I know I’m only a freshman in college. I know it only gets worse from here. But what does this say about us?

Maybe we value hard work.

Maybe we just don’t know what else to do.

We are a society where you pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. We value struggle. We applaud coming apart at the seams, as long as you do it with shouts of success on your lips and trophies on your shelf. After all, stitching yourself back up only makes you stronger.

The first night of Spring Break, I slept 13 hours. I write this with my head thumping because my body does not know how to react to having more than enough sleep.

I have lots of grand plans. I want to be known for my writing, for my photography, for me. I want to be a wife and a mother. I want to make a difference. Sacrifice is part of that.

But what do I sacrifice? When and where and how much?

Still, somehow, I wish I was busier. I wish I was able to do everything I want to, everything I have plans to do. I want people to be confused by how I do it all and so well.

I plan to apply for another job at school. The ones I have now do not keep me busy enough. Hours are short and sporadic. This new job would be a boring job, an easy job, but a job. Another notch in my belt.

Perhaps this is only temporary. Perhaps these bleary nights and coffee-filled days are fleeting. I hope they are. 2 a.m. laundry is not a life I want to lead, not forever. But for now I am young and can run on 32 ounces of caffeine and lots of hope.

This life will eventually get me where I want to go. I know I will look back and mark my accomplishments as due to living around-the-clock for a while. Success never was paired with sleep.

I will give up my 24-hour life one day.

Just not yet. I have too much to do.