Waking up early in the morning for no immediate reason doesn’t seem to make sense at first. I went through high school always getting out of bed with what seemed like seconds to spare before the bus would be outside waiting for me. I never considered the possibility of voluntarily getting out of bed before you absolutely had to. The fumbling and rush of my past mornings is night and day compared to the thoughtfulness and relaxation of my current routine.
It was Alex who first gave me the idea of waking up earlier. Throughout high school every so often Alex would mention his mystical morning routine, how he got up at 5:30 in the morning awake and relaxed, his coffee in one hand and newspaper in the other while he sat at his kitchen table watching the sun rise with peace and quite all around him. Being a simple minded teenager at the time, I just thought he said it to look cool and in reality was forcing himself to wake up in the morning and pretending to read the newspaper so he could play adult. Of course I was wrong, but only now after doing it myself do I feel what Alex was talking about for all those years.
Over the past couple of months I’ve been taking steps to try and ‘optimize’ my life. Eating better, budgeting my paycheck, having a regular workout schedule and setting goals for writing. Waking up earlier was a part of that. Knowing that having a set nighttime and morning schedule is part of a productive mentality, I decided that getting myself to wake up at 5:30 every morning would be the next activity I would focus on, trying to turn early waking into a habit.
The first day was shocking. I went to bed earlier to balance out the hours of sleep, so waking at 5:30 I was groggy, but not to a debilitating degree. I kind of flung myself out onto the ground to shock myself awake and then immediately turned on my bedroom lights, made my bed, put in my contacts and walked up the stairs to my kitchen. With all the activity and excitement of trying something so new, I was awake by the time I had made my coffee and walked back into my room. I checked the clock, and it was 5:50. On a regular day I would be out of bed at 6:50 and in my car by 7:15, so when I realized I had almost an hour and a half before I had to leave for work, it took me a awhile to figure out what I was supposed to do next. Just going with the flow of things I decided to drink my coffee, put on some soft Lo-Fi music, and do some stretching.
The next hour passed in serenity, warming up my joints and limbs while having time to just think. I had my own piece of the world all to myself, following my train of thought to wherever it wanted to go. My thoughts went from the tightness I noticed in my hips, to the unique aspects of working with all men, on to what I had enjoyed doing most over the weekend, and to the last time I had cried. I did not learn anything life changing, or had a ‘Eureka!’ moment, or anything as romantic. But what I did have that I had not possessed when I had woken up was a complete sense of calm that flowed through my body and collected in my mind. I had given my brain time to do what it had wanted, and it in return gave me a relaxation through the day that made it enjoyable and stress free. Most of us are used to a rushed life, stressful mornings, long days filled with obligations that go directly into nights with homework, TV, and Internet. When we have free time we fill it with distractions that are indeed entertaining but always demanding. Your attention is never all yours, most of us instead are always focusing on something else instead of purely on ourselves. When you just let yourself slow down and process some of the things on the back burner of your conscious, the organization of your thought mixed with the slow down of obligations and worry forms into a healthy mind by the time your ready to go. Your thoughts are sorted and understood, leaving only enjoyment for you to experience throughout the day.
The first morning I had a clarity and peacefulness to my thoughts, but to my surprise the next two weeks of early rising were filled with productivity. I now had so much free time in the mornings with nothing immediately in front of me to do, so I just started working on things. Writing a couple of short stories, reading some interesting articles, and even writing a couple of blog posts. Even part of this post was written at 5:50 in the morning! But your probably saying to yourself “Hey didn’t you just talk about taking the time to relax and think without having anything in front of you?” Well the crazy thing was, I was doing both. Since my day had not started yet and I was still letting my brain just do really whatever It wanted, I felt no obligation to any of the activity’s I was doing, letting my mind wonder and go down deep into trains of thought on the subjects I was reading or writing about without restrictions on wasting time or having to work. I had a clarity and thoughtfulness in the morning that was unmatched to any other time in my life.
By the time everyone is groggily rolling out of bed in the morning you will already be awake and ready for the day. You can start and finish things before people have even opened their eyes. It’s like having a secret weapon, a cheat code to life that your peers will have to struggle without. Its a true life hack. Now I know why Alex was always so collected in the morning while half of the time I would show up to school without a belt and socks. Waking up at 5a.m in the morning is amazing. Just try it for a couple of days and you will know what I’m talking about.