Monday, June 27, 2011

am I REALLY a morning person?

I've always considered myself a morning person.  As a tot, tween, teen and beyond I've never been one to sleep in much, often to my mom's consternation in the tot and tween years.  I remember her dropping me off at sleep overs and warning the host mom that I was an early riser, which helped me feel like some kind weirdo about my morning perkiness.  It's not like when I was at sleepovers I'd get up and roam the family's house or raid the fridge or anything...I'd just lay there and make conspicuous noises and such, trying to awaken my friend.  Anyway - this tendency to awaken early has only increased and gotten earlier in the last 6 years or so, maybe related to the demise of my visits from Aunt Flo.

On the flip side of the day - I've also never had any trouble falling asleep at night.  I'm " a sleeping before my head hits the pillow" kind of gal and always have been.  "Early to bed, early to rise..." is the way I'm hard-wired, and I'm pretty happy about that. 

My difficulty these days is staying awake much past 8:30, and my snarky kids and husband would snicker at me claiming 8:30 as my witching hour. It's partially because I'm up well before the butt-crack of dawn everyday - think 4:30-4:45.  Unless I'm out at night doing something (other than sitting in a darkened theater watching a movie, which I don't do for this reason), I feel heaviness collect in my eyelids around 8, (okay, 7:30) compelling me to horizontilize myself, which signals a very short descent into the land of Morpheus.  This aspect of my Benjamin Franklin lifestyle is frustrating at times, because it's genuinely hard for me to make it up for a show that airs at 9 pm or later.  Starbux helps - tho I've been known to fall asleep without difficulty after a double shot latte at 5 p.m.!

Back in the days when I stayed up later, or half the night even, I still tended to wake up early.  And always, ALWAYS, I've been uber-productive and perky in the mornings.  Not crazed, not manic, just very productive.  Literally and figuratively.  Under the literal category, I get things done.  I have energy and don't mind countless trips down to the basement to throw in a load of clothes, then up 2 flights to put done clothes away.  Then back downto straighten up, do something related to the dinner hour that will inevitably come later, sort recycling, endless tasks that don't bother me one bit in the the morning.  Not one bit.

Alright then.  The #1 confounding aspect of being a morning person is that all these same tasks, regardless how simple, mindless or even appealing they were between 5 and 8 a.m. become way beyond my interest, ability or desire to perform once the clock inches past about 2:30 in the afternoon, which is the time I get off work each day.  Given my lengthy commute of 5 mintues, I enter through the kitchen door by 2:35, at which time the dog rouses himself from his 4th or 5th daily power nap to greet me, receive his babylove and remind me to take him for a walk.  For this I have energy and interest - even desire.  When it's freezing cold, my desire to trek more than a mile or so wanes, but generally the dog walk is a go.

After that - forget it.  Anything other than chores absolutely necessary to survival seems monumental or impossible at worst, expendable at best.  Even things I really wanted and planned to do that morning.  Planned and INTENDED to do.  Of course I can muster up the ooomph to jump into what I'd planned to do instead of an answering the call of the couch and my book, knitting or the remote control - but more often than not I don't.

Don't get me wrong - leisure engineering isn't a bad thing, and I don't harbor any notion I need to be productive every waking moment.  I can build in down time for myself with the best of 'em.  But it's frustrating to plan with all my heart to do something I want to do and needs to be done only find my bio-rhythms or some cosmic glitch renders me in need of a virtual kick in the ass to get into gear after my work day.  And this brings me to the #2 confounding aspect of being a morning person...the figurative part.

During my productive early mornings when I'm physically engaged in tasks and chores, my mind and soul are active as well.  I plan, desire and fervently intend to have a clean healthy day with food.  To meditate.  To not overeat, or binge.  Pray more.  Exercise.  I feel full of hope, enthusiasm and optimism that I can and will "live my best day"  (thanks, Oprah), and stay the course, keeping my desires for wholeness, health and abundant living at the front of my mind.

But as the day progresses beyond my work hours, just like the plan to scrub the toilets, my personal intentions and focus diminish.  I do great and follow my intentions until those late afternoon hours when I find it difficult to remember that I really don't love my body at its current weight; that I do want to have a clean, sugar free day; that I want to exercise, pray, meditate, tend to my soul...whatever.  This happens day after day, ad nauseum.  I think I could accept my tendency to not be able to engage in the planned household chores later in the day if I didn't also become murky and fuzzy about my plans for the less concrete but more important personal goals.

You all know AA uses the Serenity Prayer as one of its main tenets; "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."  There are things about myself I KNOW I can change.  I just need to remember I want to change them when I'm tired, lazy or unmotivated.  Or when something is gnawing at me from within that I'm not even aware of.  I need to remember that when I try to convince myself I don't really want what I know I'll want again tomorrow morning and definitely definitely wanted this morning, I still do want it and some unrealized emotion or struggle is trying to sabotage me.  I need to find a way to keep my intentions alive and on the front burner when I "forget" them temporarily.  This is a work in progress, like I am.

The good news is that I get a chance to revisit this each day.  Each day begins with a morning, and I am, afterall, a morning person.


  1. If I didn't think it before, this confirms it. We are twin daughters of different mothers. It's like I have two lives - one from 4:30ish to 2:30pm. In that life, I'm up, perky, motivated and energetic. I get more done between 4:30 and 7:30 than most people do in a whole day. And then I got to work. By 2:30, weekday or no, I'm done.

    And it doesn't matter when I go to bed, the internal clock will NOT be reset.

    After work? I'm tired, famished and any Pollyanna-ish tendencies have long since vanished.

    I try to work with these tendencies, but it's during the evening that my "failures" happen.

  2. I generally accomplish very little between 2 and 5 PM. For me it is my tired hours..I get some energy after dinner, but have VERY little motivation in the afternoon! I am a morning person too! (although NOT THAT early!) I am just a get up and go person, which drives my hubby nuts...he's more of a stay in bed a while, take a 30 minute shower...dress slowly...etc.... :)

  3. Boy do we have this in common. As a teen, I simply stopped going to sleepovers because about the time everyone was getting wound up, I was turning into a ogre and about the time they'd finally fall asleep, I was waking up. My husband often says, "after 3 p.m., she starts winding down and by 8, it's just plain ugly!! I make no apologies. In the morning everything is fresh, clean and not crowded.

    I really enjoy your blog!

  4. Oh man, me too. I am most productive in all ways in the morning. Blogging, exercising, cleaning (when I bother to clean). The older I get the less I can stay up at night and I can't manage to sleep past a certain time in the mornings despite no job or no need to wake my teen anymore! But I like the quiet when I get up and have the house to myself for a little while. Part of my eating issues are that I am falling asleep in front of the TV at night and eat to stay awake!

  5. Holy Cow! I do the exact same thing. I fell asleep last night at 6pm last night (accident)was up at 3am. I told myself I must hold on till at least 7:30. It's only an hour away. I feel I miss out on fun things, but I seriously can't keep my eyes open. That's why I do all my stuff early.

    Sleeping "in" for me is going to bed extra early. I just can not sleep in. Going to bed early cuts down on late night eating. That's one perk.

    Thanks for your comment today. I do know that I can't make the resentment go away. God has to remove it. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. I could have written this post too! K will say on days when I don't have a lot to do I can still accomplish things AFTER 2 pm but you would be tired after a day's work! I am able to take a 'restie' when I want to since I mainly work from home. I'm sitting here at 5 AM with my coffee...and I don't have a thing to do until 10AM. I love mornings.

  7. Though you and I are twins when it comes to the hours we keep, I think my early ups/downs come from habit more than natural clock. Only because when we go on vacation I find I tend to stay up later, get up later. I will be interested to see what happens once I'm in full blown retirement and don't ever have to worry about getting up.

  8. I'm trying so hard to become a morning person. Once I'm up I'm fine and I love being productive in the morning. My body seems to like 12 hours sleep which is too much!!

  9. Me too! I could relate to so much of this post Leslie.

    We have to try and stay motivated all day long and that isn't easy once we are tired, hungry and have so many things on our to do list.

  10. Sounds familiar. For me, it's hard to get motivated to be productive after work, but there is another thing I've noticed: for some reason, i mentally feel the time from work till bed should be all mine for relaxation. It really is wrong-thinking and I'm not sure why I feel that way! If I force myself to do an errand on the way home from work, I feel really put out. Not proud of this, but it's true.