Wednesday, May 19, 2010

every morning I wind my own spring

I am not a Morning Person. I have deduced that there are two main reasons for this. One, I tend to stay up very late. I don’t have a good excuse for that. I’m not a shift worker or an insomniac. I just get preoccupied by a lot of fairly useless things, like watching Go Girls on Foxtel IQ or cutting out pretty pictures from magazines. So there’s that, coupled with the fact that don't like waking up. Not because I'm depressed or detest my job or anything like that. I just love sleeping. The warmth of my bed, the sweetness of my dreams and the cuddliness of my boyfriend all coalesce to dissuade me from getting out of bed at a reasonable hour.

I have done my research. There are all sorts of benefits to being a Morning Person. According to various sources, I’ll be more productive, energetic and bright-eyed, not to mention that I’ll lose weight and my skin will be more radiant. In summary, I’ll be happier, as well as a more successful, aesthetically pleasing person. There are also many proven methods available that I can use to transform myself into a Morning Person. Obviously, going to bed earlier and having a deep sleep are very important and tai chi, avoiding caffeine, lavender candles, Eckhart Tolle and bananas are supposed to help with those.

But I have a better idea, one that suits me a little better than St Mary’s Thistle and early morning walks. It came to me on the morning of my 21st birthday party. For the first time in weeks, maybe months, I woke up early, of my own accord. My eyes flew open and I got out of bed immediately, quickly dressed and started doing things. No multiple iPhone alarms, snuggling my boyfriend, turning on The Today Show. (Isn’t Lisa Wilkinson divine?) No, I just woke up and got out of bed. Why? Because I was excited. I was seeing the people I love. I was proud of the party I had organised for them. I had a lovely outfit to wear. I had things that I needed to get done. If only I could be so passionate about facing each and every day, I wouldn't have to worry about alarm clocks and Tryptophan-enriched foods. It would just come naturally. So there existed my new aspiration: to make my days so exciting and fulfilling that I woke up easily and bounced out of bed every morning.

I tried that for a few weeks. You know, writing lists and making plans to fill my days with fun and laughter, trying to build anticipation and excite a passion that would miraculously trigger my eyes to fly open at the break of dawn. But the truth is that, no matter how hard we try, our days will be varied. Some will be overwhelmingly awful or mind-numbingly boring, and others will be exhilarating or just plain lovely. The majority will be a combination of all of these. Coming to this realisation helped me to acknowledge that it’s not so much my life that has to change, as much as my mindset: above all, my subconscious needs to acknowledge that this wonderful world we live in has so much more to offer than the comfortable little cocoon that engulfs me every morning. I guess what it comes down to, ultimately, is the dichotomy between what we want to do versus what we think we should be doing. And the lesson is to reconcile those two little voices in our heads so that they are one and the same, whispering exactly the same thing, each and every morning: wake up and face the day.

"Just as you take care of the birds and the fields every morning, every morning I wind my own spring. I give it some thirty-six good twists by the time I've gotten up, brushed my teeth, shaved, eaten breakfast, changed my clothes, left the dorm, and arrived at the university. I tell myself, Ok, let's make this day another good one."
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)

(Don't you love how he describes priming yourself for the day as to "wind my own spring"?)


Kimberley said...

This is extremely true, I always find myself jumping out of bed when I am excited about what I'm going to wear, whether it's something new or something I love. Good hint for helping to wake up. I need it, most days I don't start uni till 2pm! Xxx

Laura Valerie said...

Lol yes, new clothes always help too :) xoxox

Anonymous said...

I'm like you - I just love sleeping and/or being cosy in bed. I don't think I will ever change. x

Anonymous said...

I am definitely NOT a morning person. In fact for the first hour or so of the day my family knows not to talk to me unless they expect a grunt or something similar in return.

Things that help me wake up and face the day with a bit of enthusiasm:

Always have something to look forward to. Even if it's something small. For me, Monday morning is 'yummy muffin morning' and I treat myself to a delicious muffin from my favourite coffee shop on the way to work. Strangely, this works.

Get into a routine. Like you've mentioned in your post, you can train your body clock to respond at certain time. My body naturally wakes up at 6am (ish) which is a pain because I get out of bed at 5, lol. Still working on that.

If it's really hard to get up and out of bed straight away, set your alarm clock a little earlier than usual. I allow myself "2 snoozes" every day, in which I mentally struggle with the concept of getting out of a cosy warm bed to face a freezing cold morning!

Oh, singing in the shower helps a lot too!

Greer said...

I agree - Lisa Wilkinson is the best way to wake up (I'm glad to hear you have returned from the "dark side")

It's a pity that Karl has to be there too.

And if you would like, we can come over every morning and wake you up. I think the novelty may wear off fairly shortly!

Laura Valerie said...

Thank you for your tips Belle! "Yummy muffin morning" sounds like it's just up my alley...

Greer, I think Karl is funny! He is like that embarrassing, inappropriate uncle at family gatherings. Plus he makes Lisa look good, I think she designed it that way. Sunrise has better guests, you have to give them that. If not for Sunrise, I never would have discovered my love for Joshua Radin.

livefashionately said...

I hate getting out of bed because I can never think of anything that lives 'out-of-bed' that is preferable to staying in bed, which is where i am with friends or films or books or sleep or most importantly, by myself with thoughts. There is certainly a point where it becomes necessary to get out of bed, whether or not it is born of hunger, needing to pee, or excitement to get dressed in pretty things, but staying in bed always seems like the better alternative.

There is such romance in laying in bed, of not having any great need to get up, of having the freedom to lay, and just be, rather than the bindings of needing to be somewhere at a set time. But there is such maturity in 'being a Morning Person' (i love the capitalisation), that it is such a thing to aim for. I don't know if I could rationalise getting up in the morning for a muffin, when I could just as easily eat three hours later. I wish, I wish. I guess it comes down to willpower, and my lack thereof.

"It takes time in the morning for me to become George. Time to adjust to what is expected of George, and how he is to behave. By the time i've dressed, have put the final air of polish on the now, slightly stiff, but quite perfect George, I know fully what part I am supposed to play."
- Nick Hornby, A Single Man.