This Early Morning Life

I’m naturally an owl. Other people were afraid of monsters in their closets when they were kids, I was perpetually afraid of the Rat King from an animated version of the Nutcracker, who peeped in kids’ windows post-bedtime and would whisk you away to his kingdom if he found you awake after 10 p.m. Good thinking, whoever wrote that. I’d go to bed at bedtime, and then think “Fall ASLEEP! It’s almost 10! FALL ASLEEP!— I hope he’s not early!” as I heard the clock ring out the hours. Not scarred for life AT. ALL. I’d lay there, my heart pounding and my eyes squeezed tightly shut thinking “if I lay really still, he’ll think I’m asleep. Just got to be really still.”) Also of Santa, who “knows when you’re awake” and won’t visit with his goodies if you are. I always was. I was quiet, but awake.

I finally accepted, at some point, that to be to work at 8 a.m. on the reg, I have to be out of bed by 6:30. And that I should be shooting for getting up even earlier than that.

My body wants to go to bed about midnight and wake up at 8. I don’t need to sleep until noon or anything, but I’m naturally an owl.

It’s fine. I’m a grownup. It’s only taken me my entire life, but I’ve wrapped my head around the fact that I don’t have to be asleep by 10 p.m., but I need to be getting ready for bed then. I had a job just out of college that meant I had to be on the road by 6:15, so I had to be up by 5:30. I’d go to bed at 10 and lay there, angry about my crappy job and crappy start time, while I listened to my roommates watch TV or continue talking to guests.

Now, my life is pushing me to go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Four days out of the last 8, I’ve needed to be out of bed by 5:30. In looking at my life, even on the days when I don’t technically have to be somewhere earlier, I need to be able to do stuff around the house before I leave for work, which means up earlier than 6:30. Water the grass? Manage trash/laundry? Deal with dishes? Earlier, earlier, earlier, because in the evening, there’s not time or energy for a lot more than make dinner, walk the dog, eat dinner, feed the animals, load the dishwasher, go to bed. A little more, but not much. And some things must be done in the morning.

I’m enjoying the benefits of being a little better rested than when I tried to do this and go to bed at midnight or 12:30, but I have to say that all this maturity, all in the same place? It’s kind of a lot to take.



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