How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Start Loving Mornings

It’s 730 in the morning. I’ve been up since 630, caffeinated since 715, and will absolutely be ready to eat lunch before noon. The sun is shining, the sky is bright, and it’s cool enough to need a hoodie with the windows open. Work hasn’t exhausted me and I’m not depleted from hours of Twitter.

I think I like mornings.

Which is a weird admission to make if Rise and Grind™ culture makes you want to sit in an empty bathtub and sob. By nature, (and by choice because I’m difficult) I hate morning culture and a healthy portion of morning people. I don’t think you’re a hero for choosing to work out when I’m still asleep, and I don’t think you or I or anybody is inherently “better” for being a person who works best shortly after the sun rises. Morning culture makes me tired. I group it with clean eating (don’t get me started) and cleanses (woof) and hashtags that imply how into get-it-done productivity you are. We get it: you’re an employed person. So are a lot of people. And some are better at afternoons, and others start working at 10 p.m. I love work and working and talking about work, but I’m also a ghoul. Which is the only answer there is to why I suddenly like mornings.

Like every person who lived through it, I assume winter 2019 was cursed. It was dark and cold and gross, and by March I was so desperate for natural light I began watching TV shows set exclusively in the summer (and by “shows” I most certainly mean Top Chef). I usually woke up around 8, looked out the window, and then jumped out of bed only to drop to my knees like Willem Dafoe in Platoon. It was a marathon of suckage.

But then things began to shift. The clocks sprung forward, and the sun started rising earlier. I could hear birds chirping outside, and I’d begun sleeping with the window open. Over the course of the spring and early summer, I started waking up earlier and earlier — but I still went to bed early enough that I wasn’t existing on three or four or five hours of sleep. On top of this, I’d started taking the SSRIs I should’ve been on years ago, and instead of white-knuckling through bedtime and daytime and all and every time(s), I slowly started to exhale. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still a high-strung freak (and a shout-out to my fellow freaks), but the feeling that mornings were an impending threat – as opposed to a fresh start – had morphed from a scream to an echo. Now I look forward to them because they expect nothing from me.

So now here we are. I wake up at 630 without an alarm. I spend a few minutes on my phone before making coffee. I sit down at my computer and scroll and read and start typing. I’m usually hungry for lunch at a time normally reserved for my kindred spirits, senior citizens. Because I’m freelance and insufferable, I’ll usually take an afternoon nap. And then I’ll work or clean or run errands and see my pals at night. I don’t rise and grind because I don’t even know what that means anymore. (We’re all just scrambling to pay rent, right?) I get up and sit side by side with the sunlit proof that the world has kept going and I’m allowed to go along with it. I write, psyched to realize that I might even work a little better in the mornings because there’s nothing to distract me from what I’m supposed to do. I look outside and see “real” morning people jogging and speed-walking and hustling to their hearts’ content, and even though they aren’t my people, I try to soak up all the alive-ness before we hunker down for another million months and vow that next year, we’ll all buy sunlamps.

But maybe more importantly, I spend time with this version of myself I didn’t think would ever exist; the one who gets to see the dew on the lawn and see the bunnies make their last rounds before laying low for the day. The one who is productive and obsessed with work still, yes (because I am Satan), but who’s stopped using up-and-at-them productivity as a litmus test for professional or personal worth. Because I don’t have time for that shit in the mornings. I have writing to do and outside to look at. I finally feel like I’ve found the time and place to quietly exist and breathe. Plus, as I sit sipping my instant coffee and Instant Breakfast, I don’t want to seem so thirsty for “the grind.” I refuse to embarrass myself in front of the bunnies.

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, mornings, top story

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