Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Isn’t that what Ben Franklin said? I don’t know about wealthy, but I think that I have discovered rather late in life that going to bed early works well for me. And when I do I naturally feel like getting up earlier — well unless it’s freezing cold.
As I write this it is New Year’s Eve day, but I will likely go to bed early. I rarely am up for New Year’s these days. That means one less call for the cops. Back in the mid 70s when the clock struck 12 midnight on New Year’s Eve I opened the front door of our house and with champagne bottle in hand let out a yell. Someone called the cops. The officers politely told me to keep it down, someone had called in. Probably one of my neighbors with the perennial barking dog. To make it more embarrassing for such a law abiding citizen as myself, I was a local newspaper reporter at the time.
But back to going to bed early. I cannot always do that because I drive a truck long haul and am not on a fixed schedule (it’s all around the clock, fitting into the hours of service rules of course). But when I can I like to get to bed by 9 p.m. or even 8:30. Since I drive for such long hours — by law we are allowed to drive 11 hours within a 14-hour window — I don’t seem to have any trouble falling asleep when I go to bed early, and staying asleep I might add. I used to go to bed late, maybe fall asleep quickly but then wake up repeatedly through the night and no matter how late I retired I would awake fairly early in the morning and then have a hard time getting through the day for lack of sleep.
Oh, and for you insomniacs, try some hard labor. Your sleepless nights might become a thing of the past, not that I engage in hard labor or at least not of the physical kind, these days. But the few times in my life that I did, I don’t recall having trouble sleeping.
A big advantage of going to bed early in my business is that safe and easy places to park the truck are a lot easier to find early in the evening. But of course the floating schedule of a truck driver often does not allow an early stop.
But I think I make better decisions when I have gone to bed early and arise early. And in my job that is really what it is all about — making spur-of-the-moment decisions while maneuvering through traffic with cars zipping under your bumper so that they can make that exit or get around the slow moving car (read that car travelling at the posted speed limit) in front of them, or while maneuvering your truck in a tight shipping yard.
Another resolution (trying to go to bed early was number one) could be to quit writing this blog but I will likely continue. I’ve always been a writer, even though the only writing I ever got paid for was my about 15 years in the newspaper business. You can take the boy out of the world of typing words but you can’t take the world of typing words out of the boy.
And finally, I make the resolution that I make each year but somehow feel that I have not lived up to or at least have fallen short of my potential in and that is to become fluent in Spanish. While I have come a long way, I am way short of where I should be by now. I won’t say how long I have been studying, and there have been long breaks in study since I began (hint: decades ago), but I should be as fluent as an educated native speaker by now. Woulda, shoulda, coulda.
And about learning a foreign language, some people are not only not interested but they in fact resent hearing a foreign tongue spoken in their presence. I get that. I was in fact that way about Spanish to some extent for a time. In my business it is a common language (but then so is Punjabi and some eastern European languages and Russian). Yeah, I would go to a place to pick up or deliver freight and the people would be chattering in Spanish. I always wondered if they were making snide remarks about me. But after I refreshed myself on some of my long ago Spanish from school and began a continued study of the language I had a different outlook. Like I told a Spanish-speaking friend: I used to resent going to places where I would hear Spanish, now I say, gee I hope they speak Spanish there (I need the practice).
And please don’t get me wrong here. I don’t mean to say foreign languages are for everyone. It is useful and fun to know another language (or more than one other), but here in the good ol’ US of A English is the unofficial, official language, and if we would all just be better at using it we’d all be better off. I just happen to enjoy learning foreign languages. I have tried German and French (both are major in my heritage) and enjoyed them both, but have come to the conclusion I need to master one foreign language before I move to another.
Yada, yada, yada, I’ll wrap this up — but while I am on the subject, for the benefit of anyone contemplating foreign language study I will state the obvious but sometimes overlooked aspect of language study. You learn by speaking it as it is spoken. You have to put yourself into situations and places where the language is used. And you need to brave it and not be afraid you will say the wrong thing and embarrass yourself — you will, but just do it and get over it.
Just try not to inadvertently insult one’s mother or sister or whatever.
Happy New Year!
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
Well I will bare all, that is the state of my Spanish. I composed a little essay with minimal use of references. To those fluent in Spanish it may or hopefully not show my weaknesses but since I went to the trouble and since in it I was advising those studying Spanish to do this very thing, I’ll publish it anyway. To check my work I used two different computer translators, one is easy to use but not reliable and the other perhaps more reliable but not as easy to use. And when translating mistakes are made because literal translation often does not match the meanings between the languages. That is my excuse. Any comments from those in the know are welcome.
Yo debo que añadir que un otra parte importante de aprender una lengua nueva, por lo menos español, es escribirlo, escribir sus propios ensayos y tratar leer los periódicos de español. Mientras usted no va a comprender muchas de las palabras, después de ver palabras y frases una y otra vez, va a comenzar comprender. Es cierto. Por supuesto cuando es necesario pueda usar las referencias de lenguas, por ejemplo, un diccionario. Pero usted deba que tratar comprender la significado sin los referencias tanto como posible.