I am not a morning person.
My mother is. Sadly, I did not inherit her genes in that regard. My ideal morning, any day of the week, involves sleeping until around 8:45ish, perhaps a shower and some personal grooming if we’re feeling especially ambitions, and then popping down to one of my favorite cafes for a 4-hour writing sesh. This happens maybe three times a month if I am very lucky, and yes, I do indeed feel blessed on those occasions.
But this January, I didn’t do a great job in the boundary-setting department, and I ended up with more writing projects on my plate than I could handle. The healthy thing to do would have been to drop or delay one project. So, of course, I looked at my calendar, looked at all the things I had to do, and decided that if I could wake up at 6am every day for the month of January, I could get it all done and keep my sanity.
I told my writing group, in order to keep accountability. Then I told my partner, who responded, “Why would you lie to your writing group? You’ve never woken up at 6am in your life.”
That is not true. I can bounce out of bed pretty quickly if I know we’re about to go on vacation.
In fact, for many years I had a job that required me to wake up at 6am, because I had to commute for over an hour to get to the Chicago suburbs. But that was a long time ago. Since then, I’ve lost my early-morning mojo.
Dear reader, the first day I tried to meet my goal, I rolled over and hit the snooze button. The second day, I got serious. I got set up with an accountability partner, and we sent each other pictures of ourselves hard at work every morning. I dreaded having to send the Text of Shame in the event that I stayed in bed.
It worked. I got up at 6am every single day in January, I finished everything I needed to do, and I became mildly stressed, but not overwhelmed or exhausted.
And I learned to appreciate the beauty of those quiet mornings. I love how quiet the street is outside my window. I love watching the snow fall, whisper-soft, before dawn. I love how snuggly the cat is, first thing in the morning. I love knowing that I’ve done something creative before work starts.
I never did become a morning person. I never quite got used to it; my body protested every day. But I did get to see another facet of the day, a slice of life that’s only available to morning people. I got a small taste of that powerful stillness, that feeling of knowing that even if the day’s bustle and noise hasn’t started yet, I have begun.
I’m trying 7am for February. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe 7:30.