I Will Never Be A Morning Person
They say that people change over time. That maturity, or life experience, or, just adapting to new forced circumstances will, over time, inherently change who you are. Well, for some people, about some things, this may be true. But there is one thing about me (spoiler alert in the title) that I think will ever change— and that is not being a morning person.
I’ve made it to 42 years on this planet and I can most assuredly say that I don’t like waking up early any more now than I did when I was, well, ever.
But before I go any further, let’s get clear on how I define “morning person.” To me a morning person is someone who naturally enjoys waking up early (before 7 a.m.) and can be productive, cheerful and conversational. Even if they incorporate some kind of quiet, meditative part of their morning routine, my overall assertion is that for a “morning person,” being awake early is something that is as normal and welcomed as watching a favorite movie.
Truth is, I wish I was a morning person. Early morning is actually a very productive time of the day. The world is still coming to life so that gives time to get a jump on replying to emails, returning phone calls, or kickstarting some daily chores. I know on the rarest of days when I do get up earlier than normal I am able to capture some of this precious time and always feel better for doing so. It’s just not something I enjoy enough.
And that is the trick, right? Enjoying it? Don’t you have to enjoy it to sustain it? I’ve read several books that claim to have the secret sauce to training yourself to be a morning person. They say that through habit formation you can at least get to a point where you can live through the pain (hating getting up early) for the pleasure (the reward of xyz). “I hate getting up early too” writes one author, “But I do it anyway, and so can you!” And then they proceed to give tips like jumping immediately into a cold shower or sucking on some lemons.
Ummm, no thank you. I’ll pass.
From an overall life/health/balance, I made a decision years ago not to do things I hate. There are enough things in life I can’t control that I don’t like. Things that either directly impact my life, or don’t. But either way I’m not going to force myself to do something I hate just because someone else thinks I should. Yes, of course sometimes I have to get up early, and I do. And when I do I’m typically groggy, cranky and quiet. But I’m also doing it because there is something motivating me for that sacrifice. Making that meeting, meeting that deadline, or reaching that goal.
One other important realization I made when I became at peace with my truth of not being a morning person: I realized that my life and its daily routine didn’t have to be defined by a limited binary of morning person vs. not morning person. When I stopped trying to force my river to flow in a direction it wasn’t made for— and instead, just following where it flowed— it allowed me to become so much more productive in a sustainably positive way.
I realize how lucky I am that I have the luxury to make this CHOICE and honor this part of myself. My mom wasn’t a morning person and yet she got up everyday and went to work as a school teacher for more than 20 years. It makes me thankful for the sacrifices she made for me. This acknowledgment and appreciation makes me work as hard as I can to fill as much as I can in each day once my feet do hit the floor. Which these days is anywhere between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.
It’s funny. Sometimes I turn on the TV when I get up and turn on The Price is Right. 10:30 is just about the time they are spinning the wheel to see who wins the first spot in the Showcase Showdown. I remember waking up at my Grandma Harriet’s house while on summer vacation and hearing that very same television program. Only then it was Bob Barker and not Drew Carey. After all these years the hosts have changed, but not when I wake up and greet them.
I’d say I’ve been the one to win the jackpot.