I’m a world-class napper. One of the best. A friend once said I could sleep on a clothesline. My mother had to register me in morning kindergarten so I could still have my afternoon nap. And the habit stuck—to this day—and I’m now 72. Churchill, Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, and me. We’re all committed nappers. And, the recent restrictions and self-isolation have allowed me to indulge with impunity.
We’re learning a lot about ourselves during this enforced lockdown. There’s so much time now for self-contemplation which is a luxury most of us have probably never enjoyed in our entire lives. Navel-gazing has its advantages. Haven’t you ever been struck with a brilliant idea or inspiration just before you drop off to sleep at night? Or, perhaps while you’re idling in a traffic jam? That’s why I keep a pen and notepad on my bedside table and in the console of my car. Fresh ideas need space to germinate and now is the perfect time to unleash our imagination.
Many of my boomer friends have commented on how they’re enjoying the slower pace being enforced on us by house arrest. For the Type-A’s it’s been an adjustment but they’re appreciating the extra time they now have for hobbies and simply taking time to smell the roses, peonies, or lilacs that are blooming at this time of year. Retirees, particularly retired baby boomers are known for being almost as active and involved as we were when we were working fulltime. Just try to organize a ladies’ lunch or a golf game and it’s evident we all have busy schedules and the effort resembles the old saying “like herding cats”.
I spend a lot of time these days playing around on my blog. My friend Perry has discovered digital art while another friend is finally doing all the reading she never had time for previously. Terry has become a master sourdough baker. When we have time on our hands, our brains are allowed to run free which does not happen when we’re constantly busy. After working all morning on the computer, I have my lunch and I find my eyes are tired after all that earlier computer work. So I sit down in my backyard La-Z-girl to read and dang, before you know it I’ve nodded off. No guilt involved. Just like in the old days when I was in kindergarten, I need a nap in the afternoon; it’s a genetic flaw that was very inconvenient when I was working. After-lunch naps were frowned upon.
Allowing ourselves the time needed to recharge our batteries and let our minds wander is a habit I endorse and practise wholeheartedly. As we get older, it’s a delicious luxury we’ve earned. Leave the late nights working, partying, or whatever to those much younger than ourselves. We did it in our day and spent most of our lives sleep-deprived. The pandemic is forcing the entire world to reevaluate our natural circadian rhythms and acknowledge our limitations and natural inclinations. We’re going to notice many lifestyle changes when this thing is over and I’m hoping that one of the outcomes is a less negative connotation associated with our natural need for sleep.
They say more sleep even encourages weight loss but I can’t vouch for that as I’ve put on five pounds this summer. But, that could have something (a lot) to do with my increased intake of Kawartha Dairy ice cream at this time of year. I think I’ll just sleep it off and maybe the feeling and the pounds will go away. It’s nice to do something I’m really good at and have an aptitude for. When we come out the other side of this crisis, hopefully, we’ll all be happier, more aware of the damage we’re doing to our planet, a bit smarter, a bit chubbier, and finally, well-rested. That’s OK too.