In college my friends and I used to pull all-nighters all the time. During the summer of 2011, I’d guess that I spent more nights awake and surrounded by friends than asleep in my bed. Every single one of those nights are sweet memories in my rear view mirror. No doubt about it. And there have been lots of other all-night(or really really REALLY late night) adventures that I’ve loved being a part of. But there have also been plenty of times when I’ve had to look myself in the barely-open-eyes the day after an all-nighter and admit to myself that it just wasn’t worth it.
1. The Dawson’s Creek Season 2 DVD-Set Binge
When I was younger I was severely obsessed with Dawson’s Creek. I stumbled upon an episode from Season 1 some random morning during the summer. OF COURSE the cliff-hanger season one finale was on the last day of summer and I had to go to stupid 8th grade the next day without knowing what happened after Dawson and Joey kissed! I HAD to know, so I ordered the DVD’s and anxiously awaited their arrival. When my season 2 box set came in the mail a few weeks later I just about lost my hormone-rattled mind. I hunkered down in my family’s computer room after dinner on a Friday night and stayed up all night watching the drama unfold. I made it 13 episodes and to 9:30 AM before I passed out on our futon. But once I got to Season 3 I realized that Season 2 drama was just not all that important in the grand scheme of things. Joey/Pacey trump all.
2. Mike’s Metaphors
When I think of staying up all night, this guy is inevitably who I think of first. The basis of our friendship in the beginning was our ability to last past the main event, after party and straggling guests into the hours-long theological conversations realm. I’ve seen this guy make fancy Ramen at 5 in the morning while discussing some of the most complex topics I’ve ever began to wrap my brain around. I’ve learned more from Mike and one of his metaphors describing God while the sun was rising than I have from most Christian Living books. Worth the loss of sleep. Every single time.
3. Except for that one time we all watched Pete Wentz in all his awkward glory
The playlist up there is SOLID. Such a fun journey through the 2000’s. However, staying up til morning watching Pete Wentz stumble his way through hosting the VH1 special “100 Greatest Songs of the 00’s” with Mike, Rich and Jaime was a ridiculously good time that I just can’t believe I convinced myself to have. It was hysterical and I’ll never forget how hard we laughed and I think of it every time I see that dude. But I just can’t consider this a good use of my sleeping time!
4. Journaling in a foreign country
During spring break of my senior year of college, I went to West Africa on a missions trip with Jesus Film Ministries. I don’t have nearly enough time to go into what a sweet time this was for me and all the things that I learned and experienced on my trip. But I will say that one of my favorite elements of the whole week was that I was asked to journal our experiences at the end of every day so that the whole team would have the memories documented. I spent almost every night of the trip staying up incredibly late in a little chair in the kitchen typing away everything that happened each day and then getting out my personal journal and writing down everything that I felt and thought about what had happened each day. I’m so so grateful that I have these thoughts and memories written down so that I can occasionally reflect on what The Lord taught me on that trip and the thousands of ways He chased after and protected me during it. For several months after coming home, I would wake up some mornings and expect to be in that little chair with a laptop and my Bible in my lap. I was genuinely disoriented to be in my own bedroom and not about to embark on some West African adventure.
5. The night before every single birthday, holiday, & first day of school
I know what you’re thinking–man that girl in the rad Tweety Bird shirt sure looks mellow considering a Leonardo DiCaprio book and Cabbage Patch doll is right in front of her. You’re right. It’s because I probably didn’t sleep even a little bit the night before this Easter because I was just TOO excited for Snickers Eggs to close my eyes. This was a consistent conundrum for me the night before pretty much every big event. And to be honest, I’m still not great at falling asleep under the influence of excitement.
6. The night before I graduated from college
I was practically sleeping during the entire ceremony of my college graduation and it was because the night before my closest friends and my family collided into one weird world. We were in hysterics playing Picture Telephone that night around my dining room table and it was amazing. My friends joking around and laughing with Eric and my mom and dad is one of my favorite recipes for a great night. And no one remembers the details of their graduation ceremonies anyway. Also- this gem came from this night, so yeah. I’d say it was worth it. “Three men live inside a hill, all have eyes but no mouth or hair. Two are bald. One has only one long hair. All are confused.”
7. Del Taco
There were lots of nights in college when I had to stay up all night studying for a big test or writing a paper. That’s to be expected. But one night, my good friend Brian needed to stay up all night doing his considerably-harder-than-mine-schoolwork and I decided I wanted to support him. So, despite not having any schoolwork of my own to work on, I stayed up all night with him. We spent most of the night just at the dining room table in Tani, Re and I’s town-house, but then at a certain point we decided Del Taco would be a great decision. But in reality, Del Taco is NEVER a great decision and while I’m grateful for any time I ever got to spend with my rad friend Brian, this was one of the weirder over-the-top-support-a-friend gestures I’ve made in my life. Plus Del Taco will give ya a wicked stomach ache, even when you’re still in your early 20’s.
8. The night there were chocolate-chip pancakes at the finish line
Once upon a time I had a little crush on a guy who I had really just met. And one night, after all of our friends had gone to sleep, we sat on the beloved green couch in the living room and stayed up all night talking and swapping stories and laughing together at our own delirium. And this would have been a great memory in and of itself, but when the sun rose this kindhearted soul offered to make chocolate chip pancakes for the both of us. So yeah- it was a pretty top notch village scenario for me. I still consider those the best chocolate chip pancakes I’ve ever eaten.
9. Every single all nighter spent finishing a book
If I’m perfectly honest, this one’s my favorite. In general, the act of entering another world through the pages of a good book is one of the most alluring activities I can think of. But something about being in that world long after everyone in my own has already gone to sleep is so serene to me. I have spent countless nights with my reading lamp on far past the time I should have gone to sleep. Convincing myself that maybe in a chapter or two things will settle down and I’ll be able to get some rest. But it just never works out that way for me. The bandits come, the battle continues, the diagnosis is grim. And I can’t just abandon these things. No, no- whatever is happening in real life tomorrow can have half my mental capacity, because the fictional world needs my full attention. And it needs it at 4 in the morning.
There have been lots of other nights when I stayed up way later than I should have. I could go into all the vague memories I have of my middle school posse and I playing ding-dong-ditch or telling scary stories on the trampoline. Or all the nights in college when we’d be studying late at night and then decide it’s as good a time as any to make a music video. Lock-ins and “Inside the Actors Studio: Liam Neeson” and that bench on the beach. Fourth of July fights and post-wedding shenanigans and hours on the phone. Fireworks on golf courses and camp-outs in the backyard and searching for Reptar through giggles. There’s something oddly special to me about forfeiting sleep because whatever is in front of me is worth it–worth the extra cup of coffee, worth the all-day-Katie-eye, worth the way I’ll collapse in my bed next chance I get. It’s how I know I’m 100% in the moment in that moment. And for someone that struggles with that–struggles with just appreciating and taking advantage of where God has me at any given time–I’m grateful for nights that I didn’t care about what came tomorrow, I was there.