On Becoming a Morning Person

I think I just might have done it. I think I might now be A Morning Person. It’s hard to say for sure, but when my alarm went off at 5:08 this morning, and I didn’t hit snooze, and it wasn’t quite as hard as last week to get out of the bed, I began to suspect I’d hit the tipping point.

I have always been a late-night reader. My dear husband, who has to be in the hospital quite early every morning to see his patients, rose by 6 or so and after quickly changing, headed out. I, however, would sleep until 7:30, maybe 8, rising with just enough time to get dressed before my littles awoke, and sometimes even waited until my 4-year-old came in with a plate of toy food she’d made for me. Steak breakfast, anyone? {always with tea, of course.}

I read late into the nights, the curse and blessing of a glowing ipad with a Kindle app and a little booklight I’d clip to my glasses for the paper-and-ink volumes I enjoy. {Seriously, y’all? I’ve always tried to figure out how best to get a booklight to balance it’s beam over my pages, and have to share: clipping it to your glasses is the answer!}

In any case, as everyone knows, we all make plans and goals in the new year, and we don’t always stick with them. But I’ve drempt of becoming A Morning Person for quite a while now. There had just been so many obstacles. Aside from my midnight reading habit, I also always seemed to have so much work to finish before even heading upstairs every night. We moved into our current {“fovever”} home this summer, so it’s been a whirlwind of major renovating and unpacking and sorting and decorating and ordering furniture and such, then the beautiful month of December arrived, with all the present wrapping and baking and then, when I was almost done, I decided my daughter needed a collector’s dollhouse, which happened to have an estimated assembly time of 20 hours. Lets just say that was about accurate. SO worth it though—I’ll have to post a photo sometime. On top of all that I started seeing patients again this fall after 2+ years away, so I always had something I needed to look up or read to refresh the doctor part of my brain. All these things made for a lot of midnight oil burnt in 2012.

But once Christmas passed, and the dust settled, I realized I was there. The house is mostly organized, all the gifts had been opened and enjoyed, and I’m practicing medicine again, the cobwebs cleared. Before I came up with any more complicated projects or long lists {both of which I happen to be prone to do}, I needed to prioritize this whole Morning Person dream.

I made a mental list regarding why I needed to make this work: My husband would love it, as I could exercise in our basement “gym” with him before he left for work. I knew if I didn’t join him at that early hour, he wouldn’t have the motivation to do it alone {I sure wouldn’t!}, and with his busy schedule as a cancer doctor, he wouldn’t get another chance during the day. So basically, my not getting up with him = he wouldn’t exercise = his health would suffer. So I needed to get out of that bed for HIM. Other benefits: my own workout would be done for the day. I could give him coffee, even breakfast, before he headed out the door in the pre-dawn dark. I’d then be able to pray and read scripture and write before my kids woke up. I could sit by the fire and read on cold mornings. I could watch the sun rise, and plan my day. I’d be ready to happily, not grumpily, great my kids when they opened their adorable little eyes, meaning my getting up earlier was a blessing to THEM, too.

So we set the alarms early, and made the tough decisions necessary to get us both to go to sleep earlier every night. Mostly, this involved limiting our TV watching and not surfing the web too much. We need at least 7 hours of sleep each night, closer to 8 if we can. That means lights out between 9 and 10 every night {including the glow of the ipad}.

We DVR our favorite shows and watch them while we exercise in the basement. Or save them for the weekend. Right now we are making our way through The Biggest Loser season that just started. It certainly keeps you running on the treadmill when you want to stop!

I know I’m only 14 days into my life as A Morning Person, but the part that keeps me going is the knowledge that I’m doing it not only for myself and my walk with God, but for my husband and my kids. Thinking of them is a powerful motivator when I want to snuggle deep under the covers at 5am.

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