I am a person of generally good habits, which is why it is puzzling when I acquire a bad one.
Habits are probably the most important thing when it comes to having a happy life. I eat things that make me feel good and are good for me. I take my long walk every day. I do daily pushups (even though I hate them). I go to the doctor on a regular schedule, sleep a good amount every night. I haven’t smoked a cigarette since I was in my 20s when it seemed like fun. I stopped drinking alcohol when I realized it wasn’t doing anything positive for my health. All in all, I take a certain amount of pride in having good habits about things large and small.
Then I started getting up in the middle of the night and snacking.
This new habit is not a good one. I realize nocturnal noshing is not a life-endangering habit, but it amounts to eating an extra meal a day and, worse yet, I don’t usually brush my teeth. I go back to bed and fall blissfully asleep immediately, full of peanuts and raisins.
The next morning, I wake and say, “Did I do that again?” And I did. I feel as if a second Carrie—a mischievous nighttime Carrie with no concern for either her teeth or waistline—is undermining my efforts to lead an orderly life.
After several nights in a row of doing this, I confessed to my husband. “Peter! I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night and eating peanuts and raisins!”
“You probably needed them,” he says. Peter is no help at all. If I started up on hard drugs, he’d probably tell me I needed them.
“But I don’t!” I insist. “I’ve never done this before.” And it’s true.
I don’t know what has triggered this late-in-life, late-night binging, but I know that, when I’m doing it, it’s very enjoyable. There’s nothing haphazard about this—it is all quite deliberate. I sit in the dark in my comfy chair, looking out the window, seeing where the moon is in the sky, listening to middle-of-the-night sounds. I munch on my peanuts and raisins in a little wooden bowl. I have some ice water, sometimes a second small bowl, and then become overwhelmingly sleepy and go back to bed.
In the morning I say, “I did it again!”
“I didn’t hear you,” Peter says. Peter was sound asleep.
“It was the middle of the night!” I tell him. “Why was I eating peanuts in the middle of the night?”
Today looks as if it will be the final day of serious renovations in our house. There are two men working at the moment and two more will arrive any minute, and after that, we should have our home—finally—to ourselves.
And maybe that will be the end of my peanut eating.
It sounds like an elaborate justification, but I am looking forward to the quiet—the kind of quiet I have in the middle of the night with just me and my little wooden bowl full of peanuts and raisins, the lights out, the house to myself. No banging or hammering or sawing or drilling. Just me and the quiet and a few illicit peanuts.
My daytime self disapproves. But my nighttime self says, “Take it easy, Carrie. It’s not going to kill you. It’s just a few peanuts in the middle of the night.”
Generally, I trust my daytime self. But maybe my nighttime self knows something I don’t.
Till next time,