Early Rising, Early Wrinkling

Virtues of early rising are expounded upon us incessantly thanks to our old friends and thought leaders: Benjamin Franklin, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, most of my elementary school teachers, time sheet savvy managers and potentially a handful of religious prophets and messengers.

The problem with waking up a few minutes earlier than the bare minimum you need in order to ready yourself prior to facing the mean, cruel World? You have time to reflect. New Age wisdom would have it that waking up early provides you with ample time to engage in a smattering of deep breathing exercises, pad through your quiet neighborhood or engage in the creative process (the latter holds for a separate reason I’ll ‘detail’ momentarily). The key challenge, however, is that this provides you with ample opportunity to actually finish the full pot of coffee you excessively brew each morning and never finish, pace around your bedroom, pack and unpack and repack your lunch to minimize potential spillage, dress properly, and read two to three too many of your recommended Washington Post articles.

The only thing that seems to hold is sufficient time and energy to quickly engage in a creative process that you’re oft too tired to manage at the end of long day. Hands pruned from dinner dishes, matted hair from an all too late evening workout and severe eyestrain — the energy reserves are seldom there. Coupled with one too many long-winded emails at work and there are no more spare thoughts too give.

Li Zhou’s article on “Chronic Lateness” in The Atlantic last week probably led quite a few people to look in the mirror; with the stigma of lateness no doubt strong, as I am embarrassed, still, to admit that I may be among the ranks Zhou writes of. Can I too replace my habitual lateness with a different, hopefully more productive, habit across a three week, to one-month period as one subject did? I’m healthily pessimistic about recognizing the early warning signs of my sense of initiative. There are always false starts. Leaning between Sapadin’s types of ‘perfectionist’ and ‘defier,’ I have to admit the outlook appears bleak as I crank out a post minutes before my false deadline to boot myself out the door.

The real motivator for me beyond the helpful guidelines of Sapadin’s personality constructs? Anticipation. Like many others I have mountains, small, large, real and perceived to move today. One human response [that I’ve adopted in recent years] is to reduce the waiting time ahead of them to reduce those windows of anticipation. My resolution: to quit numbing myself with the cobwebs of sleep, and to embrace a greater sense of consciousness. I’m stronger than this.

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