The Lost Art of The All-Nighter

Back in my college years, I could pull several all-nighters in a row, staying up to study for important prelims or just goofing around, pennying people’s dorm room doors, vaselining door knobs, baking brownies, midnight runs to the corner food truck or heading to the student lounge for a major gabfest with friends.

Alas, the all-nighter has become a lost art for me. Now in my 40s, I recently pulled one to get a project finished, and boy, was I ever sorry. It was just one, not several, but it felt like I was up for a week. Things that would have been so easy to remember for work were impossible to fish from my overtired brain. I’d stand up only to feel as if I was levitating, floating around my studio apartment. My bed kept wailing my name.

So now, here I am on Day 2 post all-nighter, cranky, tired, sleep hung over. Was it worth it? Well, yes, I guess. This was a project that landed on my doorstep last minute, and frankly, I was worried that there would be mistakes and oversights. After all, I was doing it last minute. Surprisingly, there were few mistakes and almost no re-writes. Well, I learned I still work well under pressure, under deadline. But I also learned that I do not want to. The next all-nighter project is going to have to be a mighty interesting and lucrative assignment before I take it on.

Unfortunately, procrastination has not become a lost art with age. And technology isn’t helping any. I can find 100 excuses to not write, and they are all accessible via my laptop. Too many tempting games, 80s TV shows, chat sessions with friends. And so on it goes. Until I log in to my work desk, choose an article to write, and a whole new world of info opens up to me… Very cool.

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