This is an unusual blog post for me, not for the content, but for the time of day at which I am writing it. It is 6 a.m. I would not normally be up until 6:40, unless Petunia woke up and insisted otherwise.
I don't have insomnia, or anything like that. I set my alarm and got up at 5:55. I've been doing that for almost a week (not counting the weekend).
It all started a week ago. Tuesdays are my workout days. I left work just a little later than usual- maybe 4:40 instead of 4:30. I headed towards the freeway with music on, in a good mood. But then I turned onto one of the main roads in the area in which I work, and came screeching to a halt. Traffic was unusually bad. It was early on a sunny afternoon, but the traffic looked like 5 p.m. on a rainy day. I inched along for awhile, hoping for a miracle. And then I gave up and called my husband. I'd go get the kids, I said. There was no way I'd get home in time for a full workout. I'd try for the workout again tomorrow.
I actually did get the workout the next day. But I also made a decision on the drive home to change my morning routine.
Laura Vanderkam had sent me an advance copy of her new short eBook What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings--and Life. I'd read it thinking that maybe I'd pick up some ideas for what to do with my mornings once Petunia started sleeping through the night. Back in graduate school, I had once had a routine of getting up for an early morning walk (although early in those days was 7 a.m.), so I wasn't adverse to the idea of doing something other than sleeping before breakfast. However, in my mind, I couldn't do that until Petunia stopped waking up and coming to join us in the middle of the night. She'd wake up when I got up. I'd be too tired.
But the combination of my frustration at missing my workout last Tuesday and the inspiration from Laura's book changed my mind. I realized that mornings are the only time of day I control. That control is tenuous, since my kids are still young enough to need company when they wake up in the morning, but it is more than I have at any other time of the day. There is no traffic, or chief science officer wanting a late meeting, or crisis with the databases. There is just me, the crisp morning air, and whatever I want to do with the time.
So I've been getting up at 5:55. My current plan is to go for a short run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, to do yoga on Thursdays, and to write on Tuesdays. I'll tweak that until I find the right combination of activities for me. But I think I'll keep getting up. I like having the time, my husband likes getting some snuggle time with Petunia, and the new routine is actually getting me ready for work earlier, not later.
I can't quite believe I'm getting up before 6 a.m., though. Younger me would be flabbergasted. I always thought those people who got up at the crack of dawn and didn't have to were crazy. But from where I sit now, it is the sanest decision about time I've made in a while.
What about you? What do you do in the mornings? Would younger you be surprised by what you do now?