Awake at 3am

Perhaps you’re familiar with 3am. I frequently wake up in the middle of the night, usually around 3. Sometimes it’s closer to 4am, and obnoxiously 5am.

If I’m lucky, sleep returns quickly. But most mornings my luck results in an hour or 2 awake with a slow morning when I finally do get out of bed.

Sure, I could just get up when I first realize it’ll be a while before I get to sleep, but then I’d be awake. And I’d have to do my whole day on 4 hours of sleep, which I can only pull off on occasion. Sleeping later is out because the only thing worse than simply waiting to go back to sleep is trying to wake up from a nap.

But the thing about waking up in the middle of the night is the different emotional responses to the various times.

5am carries its annoyance all day. This stems from 5am usually being almost enough sleep to make it through the day but missing the amount by a fraction.

4am side-tracks. This is certain if a game begins and sleep crashes in.

But out of all of the mid-sleep times to wake up, my favorite is 3am. I have yet to encounter another situation or time with the same kind of longing and regret as 3am.

3am longs for the past moments in a way that makes even decades minuscule barriers. Each moment, person, opportunity seems within reach at 3am. And each missed opportunity crushes the soul more completely at 3am. It is the only time that simultaneously hopes and despairs for the moments impossible to reach.

Life lived with the perspective of 3am would be richer for the bold acts, but it would also contain such profound regrets.