Every self-help blog and article I’ve ever read tells you that to succeed you must incorporate a morning routine into your life. Of course, they’re all talking about getting up early, exercising, meditating — not necessarily in that particular order, but after getting up around 5 a.m., the order of the routine is up to you.
I tried. I tried and tried, and am still trying, but getting up early, for me, is becoming tougher and tougher. Never a morning person, my own mother has called me a “bitch” on at least one occasion — deservedly — on trying to get me up to go to school and it hasn’t improved with age. Neither my disposition nor my ability to rise and shine … well, shine in the morning. It’s difficult for me to think before 9 o’clock in the morning. I also have “morning hands” — hands that are weak and uncooperative. I’m stiff from not moving too much at night, and, on occasion, I tend to wake up with a migraine. Plus, I am not in a good mood first thing in the AM. I’m just not.
My husband, Jeff, is and always has been a morning person. He arises, and is capable of doing little dancing and singing. Luckily, I have put a kibosh on that early on in our marriage. Not a kibosh on the good mood in which he rises — just getting his giddy good mood out of my sight. That’s all I ask. Conversely, once it’s late at night, and he heads to sleep, he matches my morning uselessness. Early in our marriage, we would try to have conversations when our heads were on our pillows. Over time, we have learned that many “clear agreements” and “clear understandings” were far from it, because one of us was only semi-conscious. So, we now have an understanding — if we want the other person to remember anything we ask of them, I cannot ask Jeff late in the evening, when he’s in bed, and in return, he cannot ask me to recall anything in the morning, when I am still in bed.
These AM/PM differences served us well when the kiddos were young enough to be taken to school. Jeff would get the kids up, feed them and take them away to school, leaving me whatever breakfast mess made to clean up after I would get up. However, now that these offsprings are independent young adults, I find myself in need of a disciplined routine. Things have to change. I have to change.
The most obvious thing that has to change is going to bed at a different time than I’ve been doing. Often staying up until 1 a.m. doesn’t help to get up early. What gets in my way is my love of night. From dusk until deep darkness, I’ve always felt comfortable at night. The night levels the playing field, so to speak. Night hides the predators, but it can also protect the prey. Late at night, I can watch TV and knit, read, play computer games — whatever I want to do since the rest of the family is asleep. It is my time.
Oh, and here’s the kicker — I actually do like mornings, or at least the idea of them. They are fresh beginnings, a clean slate for life, even Monday mornings. I like the crispness of a spring morning, the still-coolness of the summer morning, the brittleness of a frosty autumnal morning and the bitterness of a wintery morning. I enjoy the newness of the world, the possibilities that lay ahead. Everything seems possible.
Yet I am nearly incapable of getting up early. I have done it, to catch a morning plane or to start our day-long trip to St. Louis from Denver, which takes us 13 hours, so we tend to leave between 5 and 5:30 in the morning. Still, it takes that kind of impetus to get me out of bed.
No, I am not a morning person. My brain and my body start working better in the afternoon and on into the evening. If all successful people have a morning routine, this makes success out of my reach, but that’s all right. I don’t have to see the sunrise, and sunsets are so beautiful.