On Being A Morning Person

“I had to hit snooze three times on my alarm this morning.”

“Why can’t school start at a more reasonable time? Like noon.”

“Don’t even talk to me until I’ve had a cup of coffee.”

I usually keep silent when people make these statements or ask these questions. I’ve never had to hit snooze on an alarm clock or phone because I haven’t actually used an alarm clock since I was thirteen. In high school, I used to wake up at 5:00 am in order to catch the city bus to school, and I was still half an hour early every day.

You see, I’m a morning person. Dun, dun, dun! I wake up before the sun rises. I don’t need coffee to help me get going. I wake up and I’m just awake. Oh, the horror.

I come from a family of early risers, so I never thought of myself as unusual until I got to college. It was a Saturday, so I had slept in until 8 a.m. before getting up and showering. When I got out, my roommate was up, so I bid him a very chipper good morning.

To which he grunted in response. It wasn’t even a verbal greeting. I made a mental note to be less cheery in the morning. I read articles all the time about how terrible people like me are. But I can’t help it. I’m a slave to my circadian rhythm, my internal alarm clock.

But here’s the thing: I like mornings. I like feeling the potential of each new day. I like watching sunrises. Days have a different taste in the morning, which is a hard thing to describe. There’s a crispness to mornings, a freshness that evaporates as the day matures. Worse, though, is the feeling that a day might be wasted. Not waking up until the afternoon fills me with something like dread. That’s half a day wasted. This doesn’t bother my sister, but it really bugs me. Eventually, if I lie in bed long enough, I can hear the minutes pass like drops from a leaky faucet.

This means that I can’t really stay up late. I can go to midnight or one if I have to, but I very rarely choose to stay up that late. When I was an RA, staying up until 11:00 p.m. was a regular event and seriously screwed up my sleeping schedule. I still got up early, but it really ruined my mood for the day. Then if I worked Thursdays, I’d have to stay up until 2:00 a.m., and that went about as well as you might think for someone like me. Namely, I wasn’t worth anything the next day. I’d be up and moving around, but my productivity would be shot. Because even when I don’t sleep until one in the morning, I’m still up by eight. Even alcohol doesn’t turn off my internal alarm clock. The first time I ever got drunk, I was up and ready the next day by 8:30. I don’t know if I should be quite as proud of that as I am, but it’s interesting to know what I’m capable of.

And I can’t deny that there are advantages to being a morning person. I like to grocery shop at 7:30 on Saturday mornings. Running errands is a lot easier when everyone else is sleeping in. I can grocery shop, clean my apartment, vacuum and wash my car, get a haircut, and get change for laundry all before noon. Sometimes it’s fun to see how much stuff I can squeeze into a single morning. Then I’m prepared to spend the rest of the day… well, however I want. Without errands, the day just opens up. Granted, I usually spend the day on the couch watching Netflix, but if I actually make plans I don’t have to worry if I have enough quarters for the laundromat.

But I’m not alone. I go grocery shopping on Saturday and there are other people there with me. Not a lot, but a few. The world might hate morning people, but at least we have each other.

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