This summer, I have vowed to become a morning person.
At 7am when normal people seem to be buzzing around all chipper and delight and oh isn't the sky pretty, let's run a load of laundry while doing 30 minutes on the elliptical, that's when I am slogging a coffee, feeling the weight of the world on my eyelids, and I want NOTHING so much as more sleep. I cannot maintain positive dialogue (or any, let's be honest here) and it doesn't seem like joy will ever be possible. It's been a lifelong problem. I suspect it had something to do with my earning the title of "Natural Napper" in the Ponderosa High School 1993 yearbook, and perpetual low grades in morning classes, while my midnight songwriting and art projects flourished over the years. I have literally redecorated my living room overnight. Is it 2am at your house? I'm probably in your kitchen, rearranging the pantry. Your oatmeal was in a weird place and I consolidated your tea. Psst. No one will ever drink the ginger weight loss one. Let it go.
One can be a moderately successful adult while still hitting the snooze button repeatedly, but when you've got two children coming to blows over the cartoon remote control and a Papillon hopping around as only Papillons do when they want to pee and eat breakfast (annoying ballerina sums it up nicely), and a wife who is a dedicated, straight A+++ 4.75GPA Morning Person, you're totally screwed. I'm so tired of fighting everyone for two more minutes. I'm done with cynicism, Cat Power records and facial piercings. I just want to be a good old fashioned morning person. It sounds so nice, being alert and ready for action in the morning. What's more, I want to come correct to the challenges of my life in real time. Be that person who has bills scheduled to process BEFORE they're due. To have a rainy day savings account JUST FOR KICKS and gym clothes stacked in a neat pile by the front door for that LET'S GREET THE SUN WITH A SMILE morning workout.
I'll spare you the details, but my research led me to these three fairly obvious, but vital parts of my complete 180:
- A full spectrum bulb of epic proportions. Mine is the length of a Bay Area Super Carnitas Burrito with a chile relleno stuffed inside. Yummmmmmm. This baby goes off on a timer. Literally, a bulb in a lamp base. No shade. Yes, it's a lame ass version of the Hammacher Schlemmer sunrise emulator with coffee aromatherapy beads inside. Had it three years ago. Did nothing. THIS one is bright. I mean. It's probably not legal in all 50 states. It's a CFL and it's like 70 watts, so you do the math. High quality weed is grown in hydroponic bedroom closet gardens the world over with this fine bulb, I'll reckon. It's right by my face but with the full spectrum it doesn't freak me out, it just feels nice. Oddly.
- Going to bed hella early, reliably. Getting up at 5:30am means going to sleep at 10pm. No exceptions. Short of medication or a shot of whiskey, this means rainstorm (my favorite sound anyway) in my headphones, comfortable pjs, no rushing downstairs to the piano to figure out a chorus or make a batch of cookies. I stretch, I write down anything that's bothering me, I close the doors and turn off the lights and if I get interrupted I yell, "I'm supposed to be soothing!" (They love that. Uh huh.)
- Fake birds chirping. It's a sound of my childhood- birds chirping in the window in the morning. If I hear any classic "alarm" type sound, I get angry and annoyed and turn it off. Birds? Totally different story. Who knew. I use the SleepSmart app on my iPhone.
- Going outside immediately upon waking. This one is KEY to my success. It's the last thing I want to do. But I rise, throw on whatever sports bra I can find, I mean er, take one from the freshly folded pile I've placed by the door, and clip the dogs on leash for a walk. Within one block my mood has brightened considerably.
- Spend 10 minutes noticing the goodness. While I'm walking, I try to avoid work email (okay maybe I sneak a little, but just for a sec), and do no planning or strategy. Just look at that tree and the sky is gorgeous and wow, life is pretty fucking great in the morning.
The end result is 8 days and counting of amazing mornings. I'm up before my son, before the dogs, and someday soon, before the sun itself. I get to read the paper sort of undisturbed, and I have time to actually be dressed and cute instead of running out the door making my kids all stressed because we're so late. It's incredible. I can't believe it took me this long to figure out how to do it.