The joys of freelancing: Sleeping in after a raccoon rumble

Oy vay, as my baba would say, what a couple of days! Rush job on top of rush job kept me chained to my desk all night and all day. At around midnight on day two, just when I thought it was safe to get some shut-eye, a raccoon rumble erupted in the big maple one metre from our bedroom window.

Out for blood and not about to be dissuaded — screeching, hissing, leaping and lurching like animal versions of Tiff and Tony’s thugs from West Side Story ­— it appeared to be a full gaze taking on some poor schlep of a loner. And for a full hour, which seemed a lot longer, what a ruckus they made!

When the gang, I mean gaze, finally began to disperse around 1 a.m., the only thought rolling over in my mind was “You are so right, Ms. Arianna Huffington. We do need to sleep.”

My need to sleep a good eight hours is probably one of the biggest reasons why I still cling to the freelance ideal. True, compared to my previous career as a policy wonk, the financial benefits of freelance work are lacking — problematically so, if truth be told. But when it comes to sleep, sweet slumber — as a freelancer, I am rewarded.

Maybe it’s just me. But when my sleep is interrupted, like it was last night by Tony and the Gaze, it’s harder to get back to a restful enough state in which to drift off when I know I HAVE to wake up at 6 a.m. to get dressed, make the breakfasts and lunches and feed the dog before catching the bus into town. Most of the time, when I’m punching the clock for a living, when a middle-of-the-night disturbance occurs, that’s it. I simply don’t get back to sleep. And that leaves me sleep deprived, weary and just so not productive during work hours.

When I’m working to deadline on freelance assignments, I may have to push on through at the end of a normal working day, but I don’t fret about a short night. I know that come morning, the breakfasts and lunches will get made, the dog will be fed, and if I really can’t manage after that, I can always go back to bed. The work will be there when I wake up, refreshed and ready to take it on.

If you’re interested in Arianna Huffington’s recently published book about precious sleep, it’s called The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. I haven’t actually read it, but Anna Maria Tremonti’s interview with the author on CBC radio convinced me it’s probably worthwhile checking out.

Kristen Dolenko is a freelance writer and editor based in Ottawa.

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