I am, or was, a night owl. I think that’s pretty typical of most college students. We stay up late because that’s when we have the most fun…after all the classes are done…after work is done…the hour of the day that offers no responsibility at all so we can binge-watch Netflix, hang out with friends, or go out and unwind to our heart’s content. The time when the nagging little angel of diligence on our shoulder telling us we should be doing something else is taking a break because it’s been an exhausting day at work. We stay up late because that’s the time when we feel most alive. This is me. The typical 20-something year old. Or was me, until I decided I wanted to become a morning person.
I guess I had some good reasons, ones that most people would nod their heads to... After all, my career goal at this point is to be something like a teacher. Teachers have to get up early, therefore, I should try to learn to do that to. Or I have 8am classes this term, so if I don’t want to wake up every morning at 7:30am, rush out of the house and get a parking ticket for trying to park in the first place I can find (which often turns out to not be an actual parking spot, hence the ticket...) then I should probably learn to wake up earlier.
But to be honest, those are NOT the greatest motivators… They’re like saying to a middle school kid, “You should learn math because one day you might have to use it.” That kid is going to look at you with glazed eyes, sigh, and look blankly back at their textbook, forgetting everything they learned as soon as they leave the class. That was my usual attitude towards mornings. Ben Franklin coined the phrase, "The early bird catches the worm", and my usual response was, "Sure, but the night owl has more fun." But then found that wasn't really true...
The thing that captured me the most about being a morning person was the unrealized potential for the many morning hours that I usually squandered with unnecessary sleep because I stayed up unnecessarily late. The one time before this, when I had woken up at 5am for a morning prayer meeting and then realized that after the hour of prayer, I had 2-3 whole hours before I had to be anywhere, awoke in my mind a sort of excitement. It felt like the whole day had lengthened and I felt relaxed even though I had a crazy day ahead of me. Being the "early bird" didn't mean I had less fun, it meant that I had fun all day instead of just in the evening.
As I am learning to be a morning person, I’m finding that the gentle morning routine of getting up, making coffee, taking a shower, and having time to sit down and read or write -- even simply sit in the stillness of the early morning...before anyone else is up...before the sun has even risen...taking the time to sit still before my Creator before I go rushing about my busy day -- is what sets me up for success for the rest of the day. For a person who struggles with anxiety, having that quietness, that little pocket of safety in the morning, is so calming, so reassuring. It’s something I look forward to and hopefully in time, I will come to a place where I don’t even miss the night time.
I used to waste time with unnecessary distractions, trying to extend my day into the night, prolong the time that I can be awake and alive. But I see it now as a mere shadow of really living. Being awake that late at night steals the life from the day, but waking up early in the morning seems to bring the day to life. So, as hard as it is to get out of bed, I'm slowly learning to become a morning person.