I’m pulling an all-nighter tonight in preparation for my trip to Seattle for the holidays. But unlike in college where my all-nighters were usually thanks to ridiculous amounts of fun (I only ever pulled one or two all-nighters because of work that was due), I’m staying up because it just seems easier, as I need to leave my house around 5 am, didn’t sleep much last night and have packing to do. It’s funny how the context of things changes so quickly. Staying up used to feel like an exciting decision, and now it’s something I feel I have to do for fear I’ll sleep past an alarm and miss my flight.
The great thing about staying up all night in college was that high standards were usually set for the amount of things one could accomplish. If I was staying up late for work, I’d tell myself I could get 5, count them, 5! assignments done in one night’s lost sleep. In actuality, it was usually two or three. If I was staying up with friends (which was more often the case), we’d come up with a completely random plan, like: 1. stay up all night and have so much fun, 2. go to the beach and watch the sunrise, 3. get bagels, 4. class. But what usually happened is that we’d make it until 4 or 5 before someone said, “let’s go to sleep.” In both cases it was easy to forget one critical thing: when you stay up all night, you get seriously exhausted. Of course I could never get all my assignments done, because it took me longer to do them and they were usually less coherent, and required double-checking. And of course we always got tired, because we were usually drinking, and had usually been in class during the day or gone to a party, or what have you, and it never seemed right to lose sleep in some sort of “beat our biological need for sleep” pissing contest.
One of my favorite memories is when we did indeed go to the beach to watch the sunrise, only we couldn’t figure out which direction the sun was rising in (I think we had just picked a poor beach for sunrise gazing), and it had already started rising, so we didn’t get to see the actual sun rise so much as we got to see the amount of light in the sky increase. We walked around on the beach, crammed back into the car (those were days of 4 people in the backseat and 2 in the passenger seat), and got bagels from our favorite bagel joint. We didn’t get to actually see our sunrise, but we had made it, and that felt like a small victory in itself.
Here’s a few songs in hope that I can stay awake until my flight, including one of my favorite songs of the past 5 years at least (*):