The Morning Start

Originally published on Extratextuals

There’s a rhythm I’m been working on in my own life. In the morning, I wake up at 6:30am, and spend the first thirty minutes of the day exercising. Then I shower, shave, pack up for the day, and head out to a local coffee shop. I order an espresso (a new behavior in my life because I’ve cut sugar, but that’s another story entirely) and sit down to read or write. If I’m writing, sometimes I simply open a blank page and begin writing whatever is on my mind. Other mornings I pull up a list of writing prompts I keep and choose one, or continue working on a piece I’ve set aside, or simply write a list of 10 things I want to accomplish that day.

These new behaviors, though very simple, have made me feel tremendously healthy, both mentally and physically. By the time I arrive to work at 9am, I feel accomplished and ready for more. Creating this rhythm in my life feels like one of the most life-giving decisions I’ve made in years, and I wouldn’t dream of giving it up… but every day, I fight the urge to sleep in. There’s always the siren call of “five more minutes” echoing in my head. Sometimes I don’t make that 6:30am mark I’ve set for myself.

So why is it that so many of us feel like it’s a major fight to start the morning right? To take it further, what is it about mornings that causes so many of us to downright cringe? The effect they have on us is so profound — and profoundly negative — that to hear someone say “I’m not a morning person” is actually expected.

What a phrase, an admission of opting-out of an entire portion of the day. It would be bizarre to say you hated afternoons, evenings, or nights, but to say you despise the mornings is accepted.

Why?

The more I think about it, the more that this seems like a problem.

For one thing, this line of thinking often has an adverse affect on the rest of the day. The person that arrives at a 9am meeting refreshed, awake, and alert, is much different from the person who arrives to that same meeting having slept in until the last possible minute. We give too much of our lives to sleep, and we consistently and constantly believe the self-told lie that a few more minutes in bed is somehow going to give us the rest we need to feel rejuvenated. This is, in my experience, never true.

But there is another reason to stop dreading the mornings. Namely, to hide in bed actually robs you of some of the most important and healing hours you’re given. It’s these early hours which most mercifully present you with opportunities of alone-ness. They’re hours which most often lack the pressure to perform, hours lacking the regular and recurring obligations from others — often because those people are still sleeping at this point.

This time is so precious because you can use it to create opportunities to do whatever it is you most want to do.

You can read. You can reflect. You can rest.

You can dream. You can write. You can create.

Whatever is lacking from your life, you can find time for in abundance — and these moments are without question worth fighting for.