Rhythm and listening

This was supposed to be coherent, but it’s more of a ramble.

I am a morning person. Yes, I said it. I don’t need coffee (though I enjoy it, I prefer tea.) I am up way before dawn, and it has never had anything to do with needing to report early to a job. My circadian rhythm is simply set to rise earlier than anyone else’s. I’ve been this way since I could crawl out of my crib according to my mother. She’d find me playing on the floor of my room when she came in to get my sister and I up for the day.

I have always preferred my exercise in the mornings. Though in Florida it’s kind of helpful, to be out before the heat of the day has a chance to settle in, I simply function better in the mornings.

I like the ability to take in things wholly in the less rushed spaces of the day. Early mornings, because most people aren’t around, is a great time for observation. For me, there’s just enough input that I can process something deeply rather than have to skim it. It’s like it’s the only time of the day I really get to revel in the deeper parts of life, rather than getting the feeling I’m splashing around in the shallows, like the rest of the day.

I have always preferred to write in the mornings. After a work day I am too exhausted to do much more than poke around my social networks or read quietly.

There are few exceptions. Unless I am in the manic writing phase of a story, I can’t remain awake much past nine p.m. I can push it to ten if I have something to get done, but the consequence is often that the quality of my work declines. It really is just better to go to sleep. When I’m socializing in the evenings, I can usually tell when I’ve gone way too long/late. I start to quietly shut down and disengage from conversations. Thank goodness, I have a partner who has figured out the signs and will orchestrate our departure as politely as possible.

On the other hand, my spouse is a night owl and always has been. While getting up in the mornings has been easier since resolving his sleep apnea/snoring with a CPAP machine, he is more inclined to be up until midnight doing his “thing” and then goes to bed. When he isn’t working, or isn’t expected to be up for work the next day, he’ll often not come to bed until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.

We’ve last 25 years on these slipped-out-of-sync schedules and people wonder how. One part of the secret is I think is that we didn’t get together thinking to change one another. We got into the marriage because when we do spend time together, there simply was no other place we wanted to be, or anyone else we wanted to be with. We were comfortable simply being in the same space even if we weren’t doing the same thing. In fact, it has always been a way for us to connect and process, getting a chance to talk to someone so close who wasn’t there, about an experience, and learning new things about each other’s perspectives in this way.

He’s an ambivert, able to gain energy from being around others, but enjoys quiet recharge time. I’m an introvert and am frequently just drained, even when I’ve been enjoying myself, and simply need silence to recharge. But we get that about each other and we appreciate that quality, not out of obligation, but a true appreciation.

Today for example, he’s off rehearsing with a band for a gig in a couple weeks. I’ll probably go to the gig if it isn’t in a bar that more smoke than air.  But when he gets home today and wants to tell me all about the practice as his way to unwind, I’ll be listening. And I’ll probably learn something new about him and what makes him tick, even after 25 years.

When was the last time you simply listened to your significant other? Not for the break in the narrative so you can share your experiences, but just quietly processing theirs.

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