Down Time

Posted on Sunday 4th February 2007 at 00:00
I've noticed recently how my life seems to go in cycles. Some are long, lasting maybe a year, such as my enthusiasm for my university course, which slowly decreases week by week from September through until May, before gradually building up again over the summer. Others are shorter. The washing up cycle tends to last for no more than about a week, after which point I realise that I'm going to have to do it or I won't have any clean cutlery left to eat with.

There are of course many cycles that fall in between those two extremes, and this is definitely one of them, the sleep cycle. I honestly don't know how long this one lasts, as I don't tend to remember from one month to the next how much sleep I get or at what times, but I'm guessing the cycle must be quarterly at least.

When I think back to September, I remember deciding to myself that I was going to be up by no later than 9 o clock each morning, regardless of whether I needed to be or not. I remember this because my house mates had a habit of being up fairly early, and I felt lazy if I stayed in bed longer than them.

By the end of October I was beginning to slack a little, because I wrote a post in which I mentioned that I'd stayed in bed til nearly 10 on a Sunday morning. These seem like happy days of enthusiasm for the land of the living by my current standards though, as both yesterday and today I failed to get up before 2 in the afternoon. I'd love to excuse such extreme laziness with complaints about my cold or needing to catch up on sleep, but I'd be lying. I was in fact just being bone idle.

The reason why this matters is that I feel bad about myself when I resort to such a life style. My parents brought me up to believe that time is precious and shouldn't be wasted, and that to stay in bed when I'm not in need of the sleep is a bad way to spend one's weekend. In some ways I have to admit I am actually ashamed that I couldn't haul myself back to the waking world in time for The News Quiz yesterday lunch time.

Apart from anything else it isn't healthy, over sleeping. It stops me from eating as much or getting any exercise at all (not that I get much when I'm awake) and so upsets my metabolism. There is no way I'm ever likely to bring my weight back under control like that and I know it. It says a lot that on all the occasions when I could have heard Sally's radio show, I've been fast asleep until at least an hour after it finished, and it doesn't start until 12pm.

It has taken a toll on my university attendance as well. Last term I went for weeks and weeks without missing a single lecture or seminar, only skipping a few in order to meet coursework deadlines just before Christmas. This term, actually attending has been a rarity, with staying in bed to sleep through being the norm each time. I remember falling into the same state about this time last year, when my attendance was again very poor.

Luckily though, this cycle has begun the slow and painful crawl back onto the upside once again, as is proved by this post. You see, as my behaviour becomes worse and worse, I grow steadily more and more irritated by it. Eventually the irritation and guilt boils over and forces me back into a good life style. It is the same with sleep, work, diet, exercise, blogging, socialising and pretty much anything else you can fit into a cycle.

As comforting as it is to know that I'll always bounce back from any low I reach, it is a sad truth indeed to discover that however keen I am to get my life back on track each time I reach this point, I will always begin to let things slip before long, and all my efforts will always end up getting me nowhere but back where I started.

How do people become good? How do they get in the habit of doing all the right things at the right time and manage to stick with it? I'm sure it is possible, but I'll be damned if I can find the way by myself.

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