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"?)