Written by Parker Gray

My best work has always come alive in the nighttime. I was a night owl as a kid, hiding under the covers with a flashlight, trying not to get caught reading a book after my mother had already told me to put it away and go to bed. Pulling all-nighters in the upstairs playroom with my brother, just trying to beat the last level of Donkey Kong — fighting to stay awake long enough to ensure that we would one day see the final episode of Gilligan’s Island — desperately wanting to know if they’d ever be rescued — If I’d ever be rescued? 

We’d sit on bean bag chairs for hours with our childhood best friends, brainstorming ideas of how we could trick the tooth fairy into leaving us money for popcorn kernels doused in red food coloring… so elegantly disguised as real teeth. But we were just kids. We woke up one day ready to join the world of sleepovers, a night out when parents retired to bed before us, and expectedly so. These nights produced incessant laughter, new friendships, and stories that were only to be shared amongst the primary attendees. These moments in time inevitably molded us into full-blown teenagers. Staying up late as teens, watching pointless pop  shows with the closed captions on and the volume down low — trying to avoid getting caught at an ungodly hour on a school night. 

While breaking the rules in order to somehow sustain relevance in a world none of us fully understood, we, as a group of youths, became more important than the amount of sleep one may have warranted during a crucial developmental time in our lives. Before you knew it, you were an adult and the guidelines had changed. Expectations became firm and ultimately ubiquitous. I have found however, that the pattern has since remained the same for me. Everyone is asleep and according to the commonality of our culture and the status quo of expected behavior throughout adulthood, I probably should be too. 

The designated hours of sleep are dictated by society and the mainstream stance of what is the “norm” as opposed to individuality and spontaneous eruptions of creativity. I beg to differ though, as some of my best work has oftentimes been created in the nighttime. Some of my fondest memories and ideas have formulated during the late hours of the moon’s reign — bred and exhumed effortlessly during the hours of suggested sleep…. each one precisely outlined with specific intentions, illuminated only by the darkness and the silence they carry.

Just because the social order of a proposed culture shares a common, unwritten understanding that we as a community shall operate on a congruous clock in order to be successful — does not mean it is the only way to advance. We are born individually, and, therefore, cannot be held to a generalized standard of success or proposed attainment of any predisposition, which includes universal accomplishment or proficiency. We are all designed to seek and understand life on our own terms, at our own pace. Productivity has no bedtime. Success has no timeline.

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