The Joys of Waking Up Early

I love being a morning person.

My parents sometimes tell a story about me being an early riser when I was little. We lived in a townhouse and my room was arranged such that my crib blocked the door to my room from closing. There was only one bathroom upstairs and in order to get to it, my parents had to get past my room. This was a problem on days when my parents wanted to sleep in. If they woke up early needing to use the bathroom, they were in trouble. My dad laughs now talking about trying to sneak past my door and hearing the inevitable singsong ”hi" from my crib, but I'm sure he wasn't laughing then.

Suffice to say, I have always been an early riser. In fact, I'm sitting in my office right now. It's about 6:00 in the morning right now, but I've been up since around 5:00. The window above my desk faces East, so most mornings I’m here watching the sun rise, the clouds sherbetty shades of orange and pink. It's my favorite time of day.

I went through a time earlier this year where I decided that maybe I need to get more sleep, and I started getting up later and later. I stopped setting an alarm and just woke up whenever my husband woke up, usually around six or six thirty. I would lay in bed for hours on the weekend, sometimes reading, sometimes trying to go back to sleep. It never felt like enough, though, and I was always tired. I kept thinking about how much I loved my time the morning, and how much I missed it.

My morning time, the time between when I get up and when everyone else in the house wakes up, is strictly for myself. I write in my journal. I stretch or do yoga. I meditate. I write a blog post or work on one of the several novels I’ve had going for the last few years. Maybe I write a short story if I’m feeling like it. Sometimes I’ll get distracted and lost in social media, though lately I’ve been limiting my access to that during this time and it’s helped. But the point of getting up so early is to have some time in my day when I don’t have any demands or desires from anyone else. Not my family, not my work, no one.

I missed that time terribly.

So a few weeks ago, I decided to try getting up early again and see how it felt. I decided to ease into it and I set my alarm for 5:30. I woke up the next morning at 5:15, unable to stay in bed any more. I got up, went downstairs and made a matcha tea latte, then came back up and went into my office and wrote in my journal.

It seems like a little thing, but it was glorious. And I felt better than I had in months. I was wide awake, I had energy, and all day my body and my attitude just felt right. I felt like myself.

It’s been a few weeks now and I’m back to waking up every morning at 5. I make sure to go to bed early enough that I get enough sleep. Sometimes it takes me a few minutes to convince myself to get out of my warm, comfy bed. But I’m always glad once I do. It’s a powerful thing to have time to yourself.