The Night Shift and the Magic of Twilight Hour

(Originally written for and posted over at

I think I worked a job once that I could classify at a 9-5 job. It was an administrative assistant. I worked it for like a week. The next closest to that…back in college. I had a tendency to take a lot early morning classes and make sure I was done by six or seven at the latest. I used to get the biggest sense of peace and happiness leaving my apartment at dawn and walking to campus and watching the sunrise along the way while I walked to campus blasting my favorite music from my iPod.

But, since 2010, I have always worked the odd shift. Well, not the 9-5 job type. I am used to working nights. I primarily work nights. I love working nights actually. Even if I won’t admit it up front, but in the long run, I do. The fact I get to sleep in is one of my favorite parts but it does have its drawbacks too.

I got my first serving job when I was 18, in between my freshman and sophomore years of college. It was at a local pizza place. I bemoaned missing my favorite tv shows or not being able to hang out with my high school friends. Then when I was 19, in between my sophomore and junior years, I worked at a sports bar. This was my second serving job that was at a hole in the wall type bar that was open until two am. I remember my parents being adamant that I never got stuck closing and god forbid get home at three am. But I remember one night, I worked a tv sports event. Even though I was not supposed to close, I ended up leaving at around 1:30am.

Until then, driving and being up at those odd hours was a treat. In high school, I never stayed out late. I loved my sleep and while I had random bouts of insomnia as a teenager, I never purposely stayed up at all hours. So if I had managed to stay awake until one or two in the morning was a rare occurrence and I always used to treat it magically. I still do. But that night I felt a certain magic to the air.

The other night, I got off from one of my jobs at two am. I got home at 2:30am. I stayed awake and went to bed at five am. Driving home, I could not help but let my mind wander. And I still felt that certain magic now. Sunrises have and always mean a literal fresh start to the day and life.

One of my favorite things to do is try to get to the beach early and watch the sunrises over the Atlantic. I love watching beach sunrises. I am at the edge of the world, the endless ocean in front of me, hearing the ocean waves, and I feel completely renewed with nothing a fresh chance of a day in front of me. Other sunrises…watching them as I drive, sitting out on a curb in front of my apartment with coffee in hand, or watching the sunrise through my windows as I lay in bed unable to sleep because of a bout of insomnia. The sunrise has always reminded of a second chance and a celebration of the day’s potential.

When I get to come home from working the night shift, I know I am not going to go to bed right away. I will still be up. I will watch Netflix for a bit, maybe do some laundry, work on my writing, play my Xbox for a bit, and eventually begin to grow sleepy when the five am local news broadcast comes on. At that point, the early morning news cast while signal that’s my time to go to bed. I will stifle a yawn, go up stairs, turn my tv on in my bedroom back to the early morning new casts and eventually fall asleep right around the morning traffic report for everyone else’s morning commute. Sometimes, I will get to fall asleep to watching the new morning’s sunrise if I am lucky and go to bed late enough.

Because sunrises represent fresh starts to me, the early morning hours have always been that mystical and magical process where things become anew. It’s silly. While I am still awake during those days until five am, I still count it as the day before, not the current day. I get to prolong my second chance because I have not gone to bed yet. Tomorrow has not come. And until I go to sleep, my new day has not come. I am caught in a mysterious, magical place that exists outside the regular world of people who are all asleep at this time while I am still stuck in yesterday. My chance to start over with the day won’t come until I go to bed while I get to watch the whole world around me wake up and start the new day.

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