This I Believe

Andrea - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on October 28, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Places like Jewel are open 24 hours a day for a reason. They are open for people like me, night dwellers who find that they are not alone in their lack of sleep, and are relieved. But think twice before you send me to a shrink to put me on some sleep meds. I’m not an insomniac, I can sleep the recommended 8 hours just fine if I chose to. I just feel that there are times you miss out on when you’re not awake at night.

I believe in night time. The period from 11 PM to 6 AM, to be specific. It began the summer before my 8th grade year, and it was in that initial week of summer where you are suddenly aware of the free time you now have, with the burden of school being lifted from you shoulders for, what hopes to be, forever. It’s difficult to sleep in those humid summer nights, so I didn’t as much. There was something liberating about quietly tiptoeing around the house, hoping that I don’t wake up my parents, because then, they would be furious. It was as if I was a keeping a secret from the rest of the world.

Invincibility and the greatest inspiration strikes me at this time. And I know I’m not alone in this. There has to be another voice on that phone line when it’s 4 in the morning. I’m grateful for that. Conversations at this time have been the most personal, or memorable at all. Observations are made. Secrets are kept. Boundaries are pushed. Life stories are exchanged and appreciated more. Personal philosophies are solidified. Words take on a whole separate meaning in these hours.

I believe in late night infomercials. Caffeine. Sleepovers. Trips to late night diners at 5 in the morning. Nocturnal adventures, which have defined the past few summers of my life. Whether it be a phone conversation consisted of sharing secret after secret, a game of basketball at sunrise, or raiding rooftops only to gaze at the purple sky and the rest of the world, sound asleep and quietly tucked in their beds, you realize that it all means a little bit more when you’re supposed to be sleeping.

One of the first forms of independence that parents give to their children is the ability to stay up late. It’s with good reason. Night is more than a dark abyss in which people like to avoid by sleeping. One is free from outside pressures or buzzing of lawn mowers, sunshine, and is able to be at peace. In these hours, I can truly feel independent and feel acceptance toward my own vulnerability.