Tuesday, February 1, 2011


“I am NOT a morning person!”  That statement has always been so true for me.  I am not able to function at 5, 6, or 7 am.  I’m just not geared to seeing the sun come up, beautiful as the sight may be.  I seem to get myself together by mid– afternoon and then, when 9 pm rolls around, I’m ready to do some business.

I went to the seminary when I was 14 years old.  For the first 5 years of my life with the Franciscans, we were awakened at 5:20 am Monday through Saturday. . . awakened by a priest (the Prefect of Discipline) ringing a manual bell.  On Sundays, we got to sleep until 6 am.

In the novitiate, my sixth year with the friars, we were awakened by an electronic bell at 5 am.  Once a month, we had midnight Office, Matins, sung literally at midnight, after which we’d go back to bed and sleep until 5 am.  Twice during my novitiate year I slept through the bell and missed the Office.  After my second trespass, I was punished by having to be in bed with lights out at 7:30 pm for a month.

My first job for the Government was at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico.  Work there started at 8 am.  Unfortunately, I lived about 75 miles away, so I had to get up and leave the house by 5:30 am.  My second job with the Government was with the Navy.  The workday with them started at 7 am, so I had to be up again at 5:30.  My 27 years with the Uniformed Services University started with a workday that began at 7 am, get-up time at 5:00 am.  After about 20 years, however, in the early 2000's, I was able to arrange at start time of 9 am and, for the first time in my life, I was partly human at the start of the workday.

Now I’m retired.  Since retiring last May, I’ve slowly started to relax.  Lately, the relaxation is showing itself in my bedtimes and rising times.  I almost never get to sleep before 3 am, and, depending on the book I’m reading, I may stay up until 4 or 5 am.  That means that I don’t get out of bed in the morning until 10 or 11 am, or sometimes noon or even 1 pm.  I feel decadent!!!  And I also feel more relaxed and generally happy than I have ever felt in my life before.

Earlier today, I was thinking about how generally happy I am, and I started to look around for something to make me feel less satisfied with my life.  Money sprang to mind.  Living this year on roughly half of what we had last year isn’t easy, but Beni and I are getting used to it and have adjusted our spending and expectations to accommodate our smaller bank balance.  So even money doesn’t ruin things for me.  How lucky is that???  I spend my days doing what I want when I want to do it, and I feel so blessed.

I’ll keep on reading to the small hours.  I’ll keep on sleeping until late morning.  I’ll keep on doing those things that I enjoy.  I wonder how long this contentment will last!  I am a very lucky duck!

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