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Elder Larks and Owls

category_bug_journal2.gif It is annoying to people I’ve lived with who are owls, but for all my life I have been a lark – that is, a person who wakes early and with eagerness, mind and body at full function ready to take on the day.

From childhood our waking is controlled, at first by parents urging us to get ready for school and later, by alarm clocks to meet the time requirements of jobs and careers.

Five days a week, for sixty years, except for the bliss of weekends, our sleep is abruptly, harshly and rudely interrupted each morning by bell or buzzer leaving us with confused fragments of incomplete dreams drifting away before our conscious minds can grasp them.

Lark or owl, we are captive to the relentless clock that orders our lives, although it is undoubtedly easier for larks than for owls.

And then retirement happens. There is no longer the necessity to arrive at a specific time somewhere that has been as close as a walk of a few blocks or a commute of two hours. There is no more morning rush, no schedule to keep, no gulping coffee nor the frustration of misplaced keys as the clock ticks relentlessly. No one requires our presence.

What a pleasure it is to awaken in one’s own time, as nature intended, becoming aware again that a new day has arrived, but doing it gradually and gently.

These cold winter mornings are especially delicious. The rooms are kept at 60 degrees Fahrenheit overnight so that even a lark like me wants to snuggle more deeply into the covers for awhile, drifting in that hanging space between sleep and consciousness where the direction of dreams can be controlled, if you do it gently enough. After all those decades of interruption, the final act of the reverie can be allowed to play itself out now.

But once “The End” is put to the dream, I am not capable of staying in bed. The day beckons – “let’s go, let’s go, no telling what might happen today.” And it starts with one of the best small pleasures of life – a hot shower – which without the pressure of school or job and commute, no longer needs to be rushed as it was for 60 years.

The old bones creak a bit these days and leg muscles take a few moments to get the juice flowing, so I don’t leap out of bed as easily as I once did. But the urge to get going is just as irresistible except that waking slowly without the shock of that alarm is one of the great, good benefits of getting old.


It's lovely to think of you rediscovering your "biological (alarm) clock". I bet you could get a few puzzled looks if you told people that.

I also love mornings as you described. They are great ways to start the day.

I find myself ricocheting at various times between the owl and the lark lifestyle -- with periods of time in one or the other world. On occasion I have also enjoyed not even bothering to change from my sleep clothes on a given, usually weekend day. Has been a long time since the mood for that has appeared, but whenever -- feels like something deliciously decadent 'cause the main thing I enjoy is being able to do or not do most anything I want, when I want.

I am a morning person too. I just can't stay in bed once I'm awake and I always wake up before anybody else in the house. In the evening, I'm no good to anybody after about 10:30 unless we're busy and I don't notice the time.

You get so much more stuff done in the morning when there is nobody around to BUG you.

I seem to be in the minority but I have always been an owl or at least not a lark. I must drag myself from the bed and am no good to anyone until after I have had my shower and breakfast. I can remember as a small child almost going back to sleep in the claw foot bathtub as I prepared for school in the mornings.

My husband is a lark and is up and raring to go at the first sign of daylight. He grew up on a farm and I suppose the early bird habits harken back to his early morning chores of milking the cows.

Opposites do attract :)
55 years and counting

I'm a lark in an owl's body. I dearly want to stay in bed, but for many reasons I cannot sleep in. I think motherhood's got a lot to do with it.

When my son and I had holidays recently it was great to wake up and then lie in bed without pressure to get up and do something. I read nearly every morning before I got up to start the day proper.

For most of my childhood, 4:00 AM was our appointed time to arise--to get the chickens and rabbits fed, etc. Perhaps because of that, I've remained a lark: 4:00 AM is a "normal" waking time for me.

I do admire those who can put up with the sound of buzzes, beeps, or whistles. If memory serves me correctly, the last time I set an alarm was in 1977. I do so late those awful mechanical sounds; and, I'm such a poor sleeper that it's no trouble to awake at whatever time I decide I need to be up for the next day's activities. (The trouble is getting sufficient sleep during time spent abed!)

Sing on, dear lark!

I'm definitely the early riser. I love to start my day when the rest of the world isn't even stirring. I enjoy the peace and quiet and the solitude.
Early morning is the very best part of the day!

Please tell me why Larks always seem to marry Owls. I was an Owl and my husband, a Lark, used to tell the children, "Do not speak to your mother until she has had her second cup of coffee." Now why, in my elder years when I can have the luxury of sleeping as long as I want , did I turn into a Lark?

I come from a family of owls. However tired I was at 5pm, by midnight I am just hitting my stride ;-) And I see that as my father has aged, he has become more and more of an owl - he now regularly has breakfast at 11, lunch at 4 and dinner at 10! My husband (inexplicably) seems to be neither lark nor owl - he struggles as much as I do to function in the morning and is always nagging me to go to bed earlier. A dormouse maybe?!

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