I remember when I was a late teen and in college. My parents' idea of a night was sitting at their respective places- mum in her chair, and dad at his side of the couch, watching tv. Dad would be drinking cheap beer- either Reading Premium or Schmidt's. That's if dad were home, as he worked swing shift at the power plant. I remember them sitting there quietly staring blankly at the TV as I went out to a friend's place or whatever (if I wasn't working a night shift that is.) At that point, my parents were in their late forties or early fifties.
I remember feeling a little sorry for them- that their lives were work, work, work, and just staring at the TV and turning off their brains. I remember thinking to myself 'if I ever end up that way, I hope someone shoots me.' Then I'd go and kill brain cells or whatever I was doing that night. I was young, and as tired as I thought I was, I still had that energy of youth. I could still stay out drinking until dawn with little problem, or get by on four hours of sleep (which was normal for me back in my days working in the restaurant biz.) When I started working approximately 9-5 (more or less), I started sleeping more. By then, I'd met Wife, so I didn't have to go out looking for love or such. Yes, I still went out, but not as much.
55. No makeup
Fast forward to today. I'm 55. I don't work nights anymore (even at the grocery store, the latest I'd work was 8 pm.) I don't live with Wife anymore- not since 2013. So what do I do at night? Well, if I'm not doing homework (this PhD thing is really hard! Go figure), I'm slumped on the couch watching a movie. Or a baseball game. I'm draped on the couch drinking water and trying not to allow my mind to go to dark places. I try to forget everything I've lost. My body aches everywhere. And I'm absolutely exhausted, as the energy of youth is long gone, as is the enthusiasm. Going out means dealing with people, possible getting misgendered or worse, and spending money I don't have.
So what am I doing? Exactly what my parents did. Staring blankly at the TV. Desperately hoping that someway, somehow, my brain will turn off and let me enjoy something again. Or relax. Because no matter how tired I am, the nightmares await impatiently for my insomnia to finally allow me to sleep.