Night-outs : My Take on It

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“Practice what you preach”

So here I am – writing a blog about night-outs at 5:30 AM after an interesting night-out.

The night started with a late work-day. It was a very interesting day at work and I got that that feel-good thing that I did something today. You know the feeling of achieving what you aimed for at the start of the day? and doing a bit more?

I got introduced to Ruby and Rails recently. I was a skeptic first – never having tasted a dynamic language and also being under the heavy influence of Java.

But like so many other developers – and I have to say that – I am loving Ruby and Rails more and more each passing day. It’s fun! And you are at your best when work is fun!

Anyway so the aim of the night was to read on Ruby and Rails (with dinner/music and TV all side by side!) and sleep by around 2 AM. BTW, The Cult is coming to Seattle in March and so I am kinda deciding if I should go for it – so listening to their sound all the time to see if I like them. You can preview them here.

So anyway, I got engrossed in the music a bit too much – and someone reminded me about some Aerosmith stuff – and I realized that I don’t have some albums from them. How could I not have “Pump”, “Get a Grip” from the band that grew up with? So I bought them!

And some TV – let’s forget what – that’s not important ;-)

And then I caught and got caught by a few good friends on gtalk… (I have to note this new friend that I made – I am surprised by the amount of strikingly similar traits that I share – I am really startled sometimes). So anyway it was 1 AM already…

So the thought of a night out started lingering on my mind. Specially I have a lot of work today (today –> it’s already morning, duh!)

Still I thought, ok let’s sleep by 2 (try actually) so started off again on Rails. I got so involved that now it’s 5:30 AM!!! That’s how a night can go if you find your passion! No pun intended. The question is – most of you will be divided in answering this question – “so is this a good sign that I spent a night reading something – and more importantly that became the passion of the night?” I leave that to you to decide… Maybe you’d think I have gone mad, maybe I am turning into a geek. But remember I respect all sorts of people – you don’t have to – AND I GIVE A RAT’S A$$ ABOUT THAT!

So it’s morning now… And I am not gonna sleep tonight anyway… But I loved it. So here I am ending it with something I love doing more nowadays – a blog.

Now that we are through with the boring part (about how I spent the night) lemme try to analyze a night out – so that you can take something from my experience.

The following is purely based on my experience, your mileage may vary. However, note that this encapsulates a lot of night-outs – since my college days. A ballpark figure would be probably 35 nights in the last 8 years. “Ballpark”. Oh, is that nothing? Then why the hell are you reading my blog? Go write your own analysis on a night-out.

A typical night-out goes like:

  1. The decision period: You decide it’s a night out. It can happen anywhere from a week in advance to the wee hours of the morning (before point #2, below) Lemme advice you here – you better a have a good reason – that’s where the passion comes in. Whether it’s –

catching up with some old friends (like so many times in my last few days @ NYC – 2007 end, catching up my school friends in Delhi and college folks at Bangalore – Jan 2008),

finding something passionate to do (project work with my class mate Nitin in college – 2003-04 and tonight with Ruby and Rails),

just bakkar (so many times in college and in NYC)

or maybe just driving the whole night :-) (Cape Cod trip – Apr’2007)

Maybe you’ll have something passionately being thrust into you the whole night (no pun intended again, seriously) like in so many movies – you know what I mean. So why am I quoting movies and don’t I have an example from my life on this? Heh heh, Smarty pants, I am not gonna let you in on that!

You’ve got an exam and you dont know what the hell to do. I’ve been in this situation a lot of times but I am too un-motivated (when it comes to exams, or is it over-confidence?) to give up sleep over this. However you’ll see this often in hostels.

You’ve got an exam and you DO know what the hell to do, and you have already prepared thrice. But you can’t sleep – you need to revise at least 2 times more. I can not imagine why people do this – but I can understand (more like I understand an empirical formula) that they do! Maybe it’s striving for perfrection? My friends Dutta (and Debarshi and so many others from college) can explain this very well – what say Dutta? ;-)

The point is, you have to find something interesting to do. Or something bad enough (like a Moral Science paper in your engineering Course) Else it’s not worth it. Take my word for that. Anyway, the point is, you just gotta find “it”.

  1. The smooth period: Upto your normal bed-time (between 1-3 for me) you’ll enjoy like hell. Knowing that you don’t have to sleep allows you to do what “it” is you are doing in a relaxed planned manner. As always, knowing how much time you have always helps in any activity right?

  2. The dangerous period: This usually starts around 15-20 min after your normal sleep time. You feel more and more weary and wonder whether it’s worth staying up all night. This is the worst part of the night – but as you have more and more night-outs you start to enjoy this period too – knowing that if you overcome this one – you are done! It’s like a challenge.

Like tonight, it was 5 AM already – so I didn’t bother to sleep – One of the golden rules of a night out is that if you decide to have one, you cannot falter. If you do – the next day is hell. You feel weary the whole day.

However, there is a sort of cut-off time for this decision too – you will figure it out with experience. For me, the cut-off time to effect this decision (whether to give up and sleep) is around 330-4 AM.

If I sleep before this time , although I am already in the “Danger Zone” it’s likely that the next day will still turn out okay. However if you sleep past this point it’s highly unlikely that you’ll wake up in time or will be at even half your peak. I have seen people miss exams because they fell asleep in this period – so beware – this is really the most dangerous time of the night.

Then comes the best part:

  1. The sunrise: The human body is tuned to feel less weary and fresher as soon as they see sunlight (okay things like “global-working-hours” and call-centers are striving hard to alter this. And they are successful to an extent too, right? But remember they are fighting against nature here. So let’s see).

Anyway this is the best part – look at the morning light outside and realize that you have done it! You feel much better now – a bit weary maybe. Take a shower and some nice breakfast – you are off man!

I sometimes feel more at my peak when I take a night out and I am feeling like today is one of them! So a blog to finish it off!

Post note: You know how everyone (from your Grand-Ma to your Vet) advices you eat regularly? 3 times a day, on time? And the same sort of people also advocate “fasting” – A day (or part of it, or maybe multiples of it) when you don’t eat anything. It’s supposed to help the body right? Why Islam advocates a month of fasting!

So why not a night out? The same folks advocate “regular sleep”. So why not break the routine once in a while and see if that works for you? Isn’t that the point of a “fast”?

For me it definitely works – nowadays I have a night out on an average every 45 days. Lets see – maybe I’ll have to tweak the frequency – but I do get the feeling that I am onto something here. Initially I used to feel weary – but with time I am getting better. Now I actually have better days just after a night out rather than a normal sleep day. (Maybe it’s like those instant shots of energy – but we do need them once in a while ha? And not sleeping is much better than taking those energy shots)

Maybe some day these people will see the benefits and start advocating “night-outs” :-)

So here’s to my supposedly wonderfully productive day at work! And potentially some of yours too!!!