Eighty-three-year-old author, Philip Roth says he’s savoring a gentler pleasure these days: naps. “Let me tell you about the nap,” he says laughingly. “It’s absolutely fantastic. When I was a kid, my father was always trying to tell me about how to be a man, and he said to me, I was maybe nine, ‘Philip, whenever you take a nap, take your clothes off, put a blanket on you, and you’re going to sleep better.’ Well, as with everything, he was right…. Then the best part of it is, when you wake up, for the first 15 seconds, you have no idea where you are. You’re alive! Being alive and hopefully rested is all you know. And it’s bliss, it’s absolute bliss.”
I’ve written about naps before … specifically when I started taking them soon after retirement. Never an avid napper, I’m interested in any and all tips for the most pleasurable experience in the hope of stepping up my participation in napping. If I try to force one, I end up tossing and turning in frustration. Yet, pick up a book or turn on the TV, and I’m hard-pressed to keep my chin off my chest in a matter of moments.
Napping takes me back to a time as a kid when I was subject to a required daily nap. Its purpose benefited my mother more than me; to give her a break from a handful of a kid who craved her attention … but me constantly needing her attention is a whole other story. In those days, napping for me looked more like down time — I hardly ever slept but instead rested while listening to the myriad afternoon sounds outside my windows. To this day when I hear a neighborhood lawn mower buzzing mid-afternoon, I can practically feel the tufted chenille of my childhood bedspread and the smell of the newly mowed green wafting through the yard.
Funny how something I dreaded as a kid I now crave as a senior. I never thought I’d schedule time for an activity that, at best, bored me as a kid. Napping, and going to bed early, are two things I swore I’d never do voluntarily as I grew up. Oh, how I was wrong.
The whole undressing and sliding between deliciously soft sheets while the sun still shines feels sinfully decadent. Even if I’m not tired per se, I’ll draw the heavy drapes, close my bedroom door, and invite Kali, my perpetually-sleepy kitty, to join me on the bed. As I said, it takes me awhile to fall asleep if I’m trying to, which I may be doing if I’m planning a late-night event. Usually, I start reading and let nature take its course.
Does Napping Mean We’re Old?
Honestly, I don’t care what others think of my napping. I’m old, so what’s the big deal? I thought the only way I could sink into the sweet oblivion of an afternoon nap was by being tired or sick. Not anymore! If you call me, text me, or want to meet up with me around 2 pm and I don’t respond, I’m likely napping.
What about you? If you nap, how do you make it easy and more enjoyable? C’mon, tell us. I could use your suggestions.