The sun is shining, the birds are chirping. The crisp mountain air smells fresh. It’s one o’clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday. I close my laptop, take off my glasses, and crawl into bed.
My favorite sheets and fluffy pillows feel luxurious against my bare skin in the daytime. More than at night, for some reason. I get a good eight or nine hours of sleep every night. I have no kids or pets to wake me up and my mornings are leisurely if I want them to be. I woke up early this morning to create content for social media. The first day of spring and I was ready to rock it.
I had leftover chicken salad for lunch and a glass of Kombucha. I’m experimenting to see what foods give me lasting energy. 45 minutes later, I needed a nap. What? I can blame the hormonal birth control device I had installed in my uterus a month ago. Taking hormones is new for me so I’ve been experiencing all sorts of side effects.
I didn’t want to ply my body with stimulants to power through the day. The only deadlines I have are the ones I’ve placed on myself. I’m not lacking in motivation. I’m not battling mental illness or disease. I do have a hormone disorder and this IUD has been causing cramps for the last four weeks. But I have Advil and a heating pad for that.
As I crawled into bed I felt a little disappointed. Was I wasting my day? I didn’t set the alarm on my phone. In fact, I left my phone in my writing room down the hall. No electronics allowed to nap with me today. I felt like nature should take over. If I slept until supper time, so be it. It means my body needed that rest.
I have a few memories of childhood afternoon naps. The long summer days in Northern Alberta. My mom putting my baby brother in his crib upstairs while I had to nap in the cool basement. I would have been four years old. I didn’t want to nap. I wanted to play in the sandbox in the backyard.
A decade later I would use sleep as a way to deal with all the problems that come with being a 14-year-old girl. I could nap my troubles away, I’d think to myself. They were always there to greet me when I woke up. I would then be wide awake at night so I’d practice my violin. My parents bought me a mute in a big hurry. Yes, you can mute an acoustic violin. I was taking music exams so I had to practice.
I can’t catnap in a bed. I take a lot of solo road trips during the warm months and I’ve learned how to snooze for 20 minutes in the driver’s seat. While pulled over in a safe spot, of course. I always pack a couple of pillows and a nice blanket. I used to nap with the moonroof open until one time a spider got inside. I was parked underneath a tree and forgot that spiders can fall out of trees and land on you. Several have died horrible deaths inside my bra over the years.
Afternoon naps aren’t a daily requirement for me. At this age, I don’t use them to avoid my problems. I treat napping like a luxurious beauty treatment. It’s cheap and it’s fun. I feel slightly naughty as I relax in bed while much of my community is busy with work.
It’s not as though I’ve gone my entire adult life being able to nap whenever I want. There was no sleep during my college days. I had a full-time teaching career and was a working violinist for years. I’d be up late at night in my apartment, practicing on my electric violin with headphones plugged in.
After that career, I worked 50 hours a week as a manager and didn’t take a vacation for years. I’m an ambitious soul who enjoys her life of independence. I knew I didn’t want to raise children, I didn’t want that level of tired.
People like to say, “you can sleep when you’re dead”. Good quality sleep is part of living. I remember the first time I used a bonus check to invest in a good quality sheet set and duvet. I felt like a duchess as I slid into bed.
When I went shopping for my current mattress set, I knew exactly what I wanted. Until the salesman talked me into trying a firmer mattress. It was a better brand than my first choice and it was on sale and when I tried it out, I loved it. I still love it.
I live alone in a 3 bedroom townhouse. One of the bedrooms is my office and the other is the guestroom. I have a queen-size airbed that is quite comfortable. I pile on the pillows and duvets to make it cozy. I nap on it sometimes for a change of scenery. That room overlooks a church.
Napping in the afternoon gives me a chance to daydream. I journal but I usually write out plans or deeper thoughts. When I’m resting and enjoying the quiet of my home in the afternoon, I like to let my mind drift to dreamy thought. A vacation home in the South of France or eating my favorite pizza without gaining weight. I access the feeling of fancy and financial security. How relaxed would I be knowing that I have financial security and health forever? I let that feeling wash over me as I drift off.
Sometimes, you can’t tell other people about the things that bring you joy. I’m not talking about illegal activity. I’m talking about the simple pleasures that people would tell you are not realistic. Not because they aren’t possible, but because they aren’t common. I’m a happy, 36-year-old woman who is childfree and self-employed. And I spent the sunny spring equinox napping in bed.
Perhaps my body was tired and needed to rest. Or I wasn’t pleased with how my project was going and a nap was needed to reset my brain. Either way, my dreams and goals were still there when I woke up. My bills were still paid, I am still going to vote in the next provincial election and pay my taxes.
I chose the life I have because I want moments like this. The luxury of freedom to have an afternoon nap.