Friday, August 07, 2009


Fifteen years ago this past May, I graduated from Penn State University with my B.S. degree in Rehabilitation Education. Thus ending four years of long hours, lots and lots of reading, tests and such.

But, would you believe during those four years in college I never pulled an "all-nighter?"

Considering the fact that I was working full-time during the first year I was in school and then, part-time throughout the subsequent three years, commuting (an hour's drive, over some pretty treacherous mountain roads in the winter), trying to keep tabs on my two younger children who were by the time I started college both in high school, you would think I would have been a prime candidate for pulling those proverbial "allnighters" wouldn't you?

But I didn't.

With respect to my classes and the requirements for them, that four year period was probably the first (and only) period of my life when I was fairly organized. (Note: I am not saying I was fully organized, just "fairly." Organization is not something that comes naturally to me. Mainly I suppose because I could easily vie for the title of the "Queen of Disorganization and Procrastination" most of the time.

Not that I didn't have a lot of "long-nighters" though but those things are the norm to me. I've always been a night-owl -since I was a pre-schooler -and considered going to bed prior to midnight at the earliest to be akin to sacrilege.

I come by that trait very honestly due to genetics on my Mom's side of the family and a lack of scheduled bedtime too as a youngster. My mother, although an obsessive neatnik (I definitely am not THAT as that gene didn't even touch lightly on me, just whizzed right by with nary a second though) was also a bit of a procrastinator too at times.

In college, when term papers were required for any subject, I noted the due dates from the syllabus and worked on them at every given opportunity so as to be able to hand them all in as early as possible. That worked fine and dandy for me with all but one term paper -which I had done early and had it ready to be handed in until two days before the due date, the professor reminding us of this being due, also reminded what we were to be writing about and suddenly the light bulb in my mind came on and I realized I had written that paper from the wrong perspective! This was a paper for a Labor Relations class and it was supposed to be done from management's perspective! I had to go home and figure out a way to re-write that paper and get it all together in record time. That paper, by the way, ended up garnering me a big fat A+ from the professor but it was also one of the most difficult papers I wrote too -mainly because I had to present it from the managerial perspective as opposed to labor's view. (And if you haven't figured this much about me by this time from reading my ramblings, I tend to lean strongly towards labor and liberal theory.)

But I was disgressing a tad there. Not that there's anything unusual about my doing that either, is there?

You all know too though about some of the semi-all-nighters I have pulled over the past couple of years with the grandson when he was having many, many sleep issues. (Thankfully, those are few and far between these days!) It's not unusual though for me to stay up till the wee hours of the morning -either working on an embroidery project, knitting, reading blogs, or generally just messing around on the computer.

A couple of months back, I pulled a double all-nighter -went from about 8 p.m. on a Saturday night clear through till daybreak on the following Monday morning with no sleep whatsoever, all in an effort to get my embroidery floss skeins organized.

However, that task was not completed then as I had run out of the little cards to wind the floss around and label each card with the color code number of the floss on it. I still had all the green shades, greys and brown/tan/beige colors left to be categorized and thus, organized.

Last night, I don't know what spurred me into trying to get that job completed or as near to completion as I could manage at the time, but after completing the second of a set of six counted cross stitch Christmas tree ornaments, I decided the time was right for me to try to get my floss project closer o being done.

And so, I stayed up all night, working on this until I started to get too tired to deal with the stuff. I didn't get it finished but I am a lot closer to that goal now and it is -I think -finally within reach. Probably one more all-nighter is all it will take and I will have almost all the floss I have on hand all carded and in order in the little plastic see-through cases I purchased to store these cards and the colors of threads I have on hand visible to me then.

Every now and again you see, some of my Mother's obsessive/compulsive behaviors come calling on me and I get this uncontrollable urge then to get my act together and get organized.

Who knows, maybe one of these days it will even extend over to becoming obsessive/compulsive about having the entire household totally organized, neat and tidy! Okay, it could happen, really I suppose it's possible.

However, knowing me and my propensity to procrastinate, it's also probably highly unlikely.

If that were ever to happen, it would take, in my estimation, at least more days in a row of sleeplessness than I care to even think about.

Now what does all this have to do with this being an "Only the Good, Friday" post (if you don't know what that is, check out "This Eclectic Life" by Shelley Tucker for details on participating in finding "Only the Good" in things life hands us) and take a look around you to show what's good about the mediocre, often mundane things.

For me, it's simply the fact that I got something productive done in my burning of the midnight oil. It's also that my system still allows me to do those things too. That's a darned good thing, ya know.

Have a great day and weekend now. Find lots of things that are good in your lives and I really hope no one discovers any d0nkeys flying because that's what I think would have to happen for me to evolve into a totally organized, OCD neat freak.


Dr.John said...

No donkeys flying here but in Pigeon Falls who knows?
I think we need just enough organization to keep us from tearing out our hair. But then since I like you procrastinate I probably would put off pulling out my hair until tomorrow.

Berni said...

I am very impressed that you would take on something like that in your 50's that is certainly quite a feat. Congratulations again 15 years later.

Marguerite said...

You sure have a lot of energy, Jeni! Your blog is such an encouragement to others. I think we're all a bit Obcessive/Compulsive at times. Have a great weekend!

Maggie May said...

Procrastination is in my genes too! However, burning the midnight oil is definitely not! If I stayed up all night I would get a massive migraine and would be extra crabby with everyone & it would just never be worth it!
Strange how we are all different & how we know our own bodies and what is best for us!

dr sardonicus said...

I didn't pull many allnighters while in college, either - not while studying, anyway...

Dr Jenn said...

I never pulled an all nighter either. Well not for school. I like to be fresh for an exam.

Debo Blue said...

Hey, I can definitely understand about procrastination. I have to have everything done in time and even before time.

I have pulled an all nighter only because I had to pass this class in order to have a high enough grade to not take the final.

And like you, I love the night. I posted about it then read yours and chuckled that you too wrote about how the night makes you more productive.

... Paige said...

You are not OCD! the lady at wals mart yesterday was OCD. She was lining up the books and making them all pretty and tidy. Now that is OCD at it finest.

so what if she worked there {grin}

I think breathing is a good thing and you make that eaiser to do.

Debbie said...

It makes me smile to think of you staying up winding your floss on those little cards. How cute and honest you are.

Travis said...

Happy Anniversary!

I never pulled an all nighter either. For me, I'm sure it had something to do with finishing up my degree later in life. I knew what I wanted by the time I went back to school, and I never had to force myself to study. I managed my time very well between work and class, and because of that I never felt any pressure.

But, again like you, I have stayed up all night doing other things. Twice I've read through the night to finish Harry Potter books.

Morgan Mandel said...

I've never stayed up all night by choice. Sometimes if I've been sick or couldn't sleep for some reason, but that doesn't count.

I do stay up later than I should blogging or commenting or writing, but not all night. There's that day job that gets in the way.

Morgan Mandel

Paula said...

Just reading about your all-nighters makes me tired! Don't your eyes start to cross after about 2 am? If it were me, I'd have make such a mess of things when it got to late that it would take twice as long to sort out. You would be disgusted by my floss drawer. Quite the mess!

Deb said...

I also went back to school when my four children were young. I think it is amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it. I no longer can pull an all-nighter ~ 11:00 PM is about as late as I can stay up. I used to love staying up late watching Johnny Carson and Saturday Night Live ~ ah, those were the days! And congrats on all of your accomplishments!

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

I distinctly remember two all-nighters in college, studying for finals (physics and chemistry). And in recent times, all-nighters are because of paranormal investigations. Totally worth it! Glad you got your thread organized!