It was first wonderful and then disastrous.
(Say that with a CAPITAL ‘D’.)
I’ve never really been distinctively shy of my dark circles, but come September end – when my insomnia was at its peak – I found it hard to dismiss the idea that I had started to – as my mother put it – ‘mildly resemble a raccoon’.
I had the face bone structure for it (not kidding), and the fact that a large part of my wardrobe is dominated by black, only happened to reinforce my mother’s above-mentioned hypothesis of my rapidly developing appearance.
To be fair, I did change my alarm time from 7:30 AM to 7:00 AM for the tenure of that month. The reason being, I wanted to cram in as much as I could in the morning when the day is on an upswing and early mornings came with a promise. I’m blessed that I don’t have a job that requires me to adhere to ‘office hours’, but whether it is getting to work 10 kms away or in my case, 10 seconds away the productivity that churns out between 9:00 AM and 12:30 PM, in my opinion, is unparalleled.
But like I mentioned before ‘nothing rewarding comes without a cost’ and in this scenario – the price paid was in my appearance, particularly my face.
Anyway, as a last measure of damage control my mother – in a passing – suggested that I try taking advantage of the fact that I work from home and sleep without the pressure of having to wake up at a specific hour. Simply put, her exact words were “why don’t you try spending a month without setting that damn alarm on your phone?”
Maternal encouragement summed up in a sentence.
A seemingly ridiculous suggestion at first, then translated into a practice I actually implemented. Below is a weekly documentation of what my life was actually like throughout October. The results are unexpected and in some ways, even enlightening.
Take a look:
For the first half of this week, by force of habit I woke up naturally by 7:30 AM, making it no different than the end of September. But sometime around Thursday, I found myself cracking an eye open at the unbelievable hour of 9:00 AM! It’s okay, I dealt with it. I could still get a lot done before 12:30 PM, namely check and post on Instagram, go through my emails, finish breakfast, bath and bed making. Oh yes, and some part of my day job too. I lost a bit of my morning after that, but it was okay. I made afternoons my next favorite part of the day.
Oh yes, objective achieved! My dark circles are marginally less. I’m starting to look human again. I’m lagging back a bit in work and life in general, since my mornings start out being a little slow, but it’s alright. At this point my physical well being is more important. Reading the New York Times can happen anytime. Whatever, I have the remaining 16 days of this month to catch up on everything. It’s going to be a piece of cake, I tell you.
What has happened to the concept of mornings? They just pass in such a blurrrrr! By the time I finish all my ‘morning’ tasks – if morning even exists anymore – it’s noon. I’m backlogged with work now, my brain hardly works and I’m awake till 1:00 AM most nights squeezing in everything I couldn’t complete during the day. Also, I haven’t gone on a run in this entire week. My productivity quotient is decreasing at a rapid pace.
Did I at one point call this a PIECE OF CAKE? My FOOT!!!!!
I’m cranky, I can’t think straight, I don’t remember the last time I drank coffee before 10:30 AM. I’m snapping at anyone who disturbs me and I have hardly ticked anything off from this week’s mental TO DO List. And, since I’m awake till 2:00 AM now cramming everything I couldn’t do during my highly unproductive days, my dark circles are back. Kind of with a vengeance. I’m past raccoon now. Upgraded myself to Panda. And not just around the eyes, even in body shape and feeling. I haven’t jogged in over 2 weeks. It’s like the last 15 days have passed in an unaccountable haze.
Week 5 (Technically, the last 3 days of October)
After nearly four weeks of watching my life spin in a viscous cycle of unaccountability and unproductivity, I’ve decided to set my alarm back on.
This whole practice was implemented for the sole purpose of trying to rid me of my dark circles, but on the long run it did the exact opposite. There are many people who believe there is no real merit in setting an alarm and waking up early. It’s just about how you manage your day in the limited period we refer to as our ‘waking hours’, no matter what time frame they range at.
But for me, I’ve come to realize that productivity and sleep are inextricably linked in a way in which they impact our general well being. I’m deeply unhappy when I go to bed feeling unfulfilled and I detest waking up the next day feeling overburdened with the tasks I couldn’t complete the previous day. This feeling of ‘dissatisfaction’ not only affects my sleep but is directly reflective in my appearance.
I once read somewhere, mornings that start early lead to faster and more productive days, a fact I’ve seen playing out over multiple times. Maybe it’s just a ruse and in time my dark circles will invariably disappear, but for now I’m not going to risk it. I’m going to stick with waking up early.
Sometime Mid November
It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve set my alarm back on. Some days my dark circles are apparent; some days they are not. But I can slowly feel the obscurity easing away from the whirlwind that was once my life… As my mind gently settles into a position of clarity.