My weary mornings begin at 6 AM. Well, 6:05 really. I hate o’clocks (:00). They are too round of a number or dictative or something. While I know that my wake-up call could be much earlier as it is with some others, it’s still mind-boggling that *I* ‘get up with the birds’ because as I’ve written before, six in the AM hours would have been a strong no-no in my younger years. The sad truth is that nowadays I am often awake long before my actual alarm, whereas I used to drag my alarm time out by continually pressing the snooze button AND falling back asleep again in between each sounding until I was forced to get out of bed or be late. For the record, I was usually late. The drastic change in wake-up habits is obviously a sign of middle-age—a group that I have involuntarily joined because of this little thing called birthdays. You know, those special days that as a kid seem to take forever to come around, yet as a grown adult, whiz by in a matter of minutes. Indeed, something ‘fishy’ (my dad’s favourite saying) happens over the years wherein you just don’t have the same freedoms or choices or carelessness that you once had. These other little things called work and grown-up responsibilities such as bill-paying, house cleaning, errand running etc. seem to contribute to this one hundred and eighty degree turnabout in life.
I’ve also mentioned before how astounding it is as to how long my morning and bedtime routines actually take by comparison of the good ol’ days. It’s sheerly ridiculous. I used to be able to get ready in 40 minutes or less at the start of my career; of course, my snooze obsession contributed to the fastest get-ready routine going. I honestly think that I could have made the Guinness World Record Book for showering, preening and breakfast/lunch-making all rolled into one. Notice that I referred to the early days of my working life as opposed to my teenage years which were a story unto themselves. I mean, what teenaged girl didn’t take hours primping her hair and arranging her face?! Oh man, the time I would spend only to end up looking like a rainbow-frosted, Billy Ray Cyrus. Yes, I ashamedly admit to sporting the ladies’ version of the 80’s mullet. Blech! And the eye shadow circus of blue, pink and purple? WHAT was I thinking?! Logically speaking, I should be able to eradicate my own previous record as a twenty-something year-old given that I now wear minimal make-up, hair-do’ing consists of bobby pins aplenty and food prepping happens the night before, but oh no! Now, my beginning of the day routine accounts for the first hour AND forty minutes of my ‘post-alarm’ busy-ness.
“What exactly is that you are all doing and why do you think it’s taking you so much longer?” my husband innocently inquired the other week, as we tried to strategize as how to reduce the overall length of my ever-exhausting working days. “Now that you are full-time again, you are starting your day even earlier than you used to pre-surgery and you are still working as late. It just doesn’t make sense.” And, he’s right. Separate from the fact that my morning time now includes my physiotherapy exercises which it never used to, we haven’t been able to figure out what exactly is going on with my schedule. However, after some careful thought and consideration, I think I’ve come to a bit of a surprising, enlightening yet reticent conclusion. I think it boils down to the fact that I kind of like not feeling crazy rushed like I did for so many years prior. Despite being more sleep deprived than ever, it’s nice to get up without the alarm clock struggle and chaotic readying. I’m guessing the fact that my physio routine includes a great deal of yoga poses and stretches helps. It is a chance to quiet my mind, body and spirit from the middle of the night list-making, contemplating and worrying. As a result, a calmer mood is set—at least for that period of time, anyway.
Once I leave the house, all bets are off unfortunately. Between winter driving, sanitizing my work space each morning and trying to keep everyone safe from COVID-19 throughout the day, I tend to liken my days to a non-stop mess of craziness that is sometimes still surreal. I am simply happy to ‘survive’ the day by the time I arrive back home somewhere between 6-7:30PM. By then, I am hungry, spent and often falling asleep in my chair well before bedtime, which has become earlier and earlier over the past few weeks leaving not much time to unwind. In that sense, it appears that 6AM has become a welcomed opportunity to re-set and hope for a better day ahead. Honestly, and oddly, I think it’s what helps to keep me going during these more than trying times for us all.
Gee, who would have thunk that me, as in Jibberjabber with Sue, would come to appreciate the serenity of early morning get-ups?! Indeed, pandemic times have brought about some strange phenomenon… but I’ll take it. Each new day that begins is one to be grateful for.