I once heard a great episode of This American Life where people talked about the things they believed as children, and how sometimes they carried those beliefs into adulthood without “updating” those ideas. The episode was hilarious, with people having believed things like Zebras are mythological creatures and X-ing signs are pronounced “Zing.”
I wonder how many beliefs we have about ourselves that we haven’t updated for a while. A few years ago I discovered, shockingly, that I liked the morning. It was something I wrestled with because my image of “morning person” and “Melanie” are two very different images.
Morning people always seemed disappointed with me in my teen years. I was either sleeping in too late at sleepovers, keeping people in cars waiting, or awake but entirely too lazy.
I got a certain image in my head of this elusive morning person; They get up early and feel immediately ready to run, play, chat, clean and sing along to the radio. They will wake you up simply because you’re sleeping and they’re not. There’s nothing pressing to do or say, they just can’t stand that you’re wasting the time they’re using to do all these THINGS and STUFF.
There’s something that snaps in a person when faced with something that doesn’t make sense to them. Morning people didn’t make sense to me- so I took pride in my night owl tendencies, sloppy habits, cynicism, and laziness. This is the same reason we have “Rise and Grind” battling it out with “Pizza and Wine” on Instagram, and precious few happy mediums.
Anyway. I realized a few years ago on a solo trip that I adore mornings! I just want them on my own terms. In “vacation mode” I spring out of bed easily because I want to soak up every moment in a new location. After a couple days I realized my ideal life, no matter where I am, would be a very early quiet morning, a mid afternoon nap if necessary, and a social evening.
There’s nothing like making a morning for yourself. The world is quiet, croissants are warm, and you can see the day’s to-do list stretching out in front of you across all these hours left in the day. You don’t have to go for a run, or have a power meeting, or vacuum the entire house. It’s just a time to decide what kind of mood you’re in, what you’d like your day to be like, and which of the neighborhood squirrels is the best one. I try to do 5 mins of meditation and stop in at the local bakery for some light banter and drip coffee. Sometimes I even read a damn book.
I’m finding this practice ESSENTIAL for being a creative person with a day job. No matter the day job, it can feel a little like you’re putting on a little costume and acting in a play you didn’t write. Taking the time to check in with yourself makes that fiction a little more bearable, because it’s that much more separate from the “real you.”
And I’d never shame you for not being awake when I am, but I do encourage you to give this a go! You may surprise yourself.