Rise And Shine: A Reluctant Defense Of The Morning Person
So I guess I’ve become a morning person. I never set out for it to happen. It snuck up on me, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it.
Morning people don’t have the greatest reputation. The phrase itself evokes an image of the guy who wakes up before dawn to make homemade granola and feed it to baby birds along his eleven-mile daily “fun run.” The guy who wears shorts when he jogs, even in the dead of winter. The guy who has never seen How I Met Your Mother because it’s on “past his bedtime.” He’s a grown man with a bedtime. That’s a morning person.
Morning people are no fun. Fun doesn’t happen in the morning. Work happens in the morning. And anything that happens in the morning is worse than work. It’s homework. Why would you wake up any earlier than you have to? For exercise? And granola? Lame.
Waking up in the early morning is almost creepy. Getting in trouble in the evening is almost standard. Maybe you get a parking ticket or have a scuffle at a bar broken up. If you have to deal with the police in the morning, chances are they’ve been looking for you for a long time, and your neighbor tipped them off to your scary walk-in freezer full of arms.
Fun happens at night. Nighttime is when all the good stuff goes on. If you have a slice of pizza at night, you’re grabbing a quick dinner. If you have a slice of pizza in the morning, you’re hung over. If you go to a movie at night, you’re having a good time. If you go to the movies in the morning, you’re unemployed. If you’re drinking until 3 a.m. it means you’re a party animal. If you start drinking at 6 a.m. it means you have a problem.
What happens in those three hours that makes all the difference? It’s sleep. Stuff you do that puts off sleep is cool: Parties, Dancing, Hooking Up. Stuff you do that you have to wake up for is uncool: Jobs, Jogging, The Walk of Shame.
So it’s with great trepidation that I publicly admit I have joined the ranks of the morning people because it means that I, by extension, am not a lot of fun. I am not the least exciting person. I do not exercise before the sun rises. Nor have I ever described any amount of running as “fun.” I have never knitted publicly.
My only real qualification as a morning person is I can’t sleep late. Regardless of when I go to sleep, I wake up by 9:30. And that’s pushing it. It’s a result of my years of performing at night only to wake up and teach in the morning. If it gets too late, I know I will be useless the entire next day even if I have nothing to do in the morning. Also, I become exponentially less useful after 10 p.m. From ten until midnight, I can still form coherent thoughts and stand upright, but that’s about it. From midnight until 2 a.m. I can sit upright and nod coherently. After two, I fight off sleep, every few seconds jerking my head back like a blind piano player to keep my eyes from clenching shut.
As a response, I stopped trying to pull all-nighters. I’ve come to terms with my own boringness. It took the simple realization that I would rather be productive tomorrow than exciting tonight. Which is, when it comes down to it, the morning person’s mentality.
Realistically, very few night owls are burning the midnight oil to cross items off of their to-do list or work on inventions (I don’t know what people do). The folks that stay up late are the folks that don’t have an outlet for fun and fulfillment during the day, so they need to squeeze as much as they can in after dark. There are those dedicated insomniacs that burn the midnight oil to write the next great novel or learn a language, and I respect and envy those people. I just can’t keep up. I need those extra few hours in the a.m.
Since realizing my innate morning person tendencies, I have committed to trying to live my life in such a way that my daylight hours are full of friendship and excitement and creativity. That way I don’t need to stay up until dawn trying to squeeze the last usable moments out of the day.
I don’t mean to imply that there’s anything wrong with staying out late. Sometimes even boring old me has fun doing that. What I do mean to say is that it’s better to know your own body and schedule than to just assume that all of your entertainment has to happen in the wee small hours. So tomorrow morning, when most of my friends are still passed out, recovering from tonight’s festivities, I’ll be trying to figure out what a non-jogger can do before his girlfriend wakes up. And I’ll see you all at noon.
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