Yes, I envy Beethoven; not his creative genius or ability to write beautiful, awe-inspiring music. I envy his ability to sleep. Beethoven actually complained about sleeping too much:
Tell me nothing of rest. I know none but sleep, and woe is me that I must give up more to it than usual. *
For those of us to whom a good night of sleep is no more than an elusive hope, it is impossible not to envy Beethoven. Looking at Beethoven’s lifestyle gives some ideas about achieving such sound sleep:
He sustains this strength of his by means of vigorous ablutions with cold water, a scrupulous regard for personal cleanliness, and daily walks immediately after the midday meal, walks that lasted the entire afternoon and often extended into the night; then a sleep so sound and long that he thanklessly complained against it! His way of living is substantial but simple. Nothing to excess; he is no glutton, no drinker (in the evil sense of the word) as some have wrongfully described him. **
I think I’ll try walking all afternoon and see if that helps my sleep. Ha! I’m lucky these days to walk for a couple hours. I bet Beethoven didn’t have to pursue an endless search for a mattress that didn’t cause nightly agony in one’s back and hips. I feel more like the princess who encountered the pea than I do Beethoven. The doctors tell me that exercise will not worsen any of my nagging afflictions and is more likely to improve my life. I’ll keep Beethoven in mind when I walk today and keep trying to be more active. Hopefully, as I become more active I’ll sleep better. In the meantime, I’ll continue to envy the great Beethoven and just keep trying to be myself.
* From Brainpickings
** Romain Rolland, Beethoven’s biographer, as quoted in Brainpickings