What is your peak time of mental alertness and achievement?

Many of you will grumble as I shout out: I adore waking early in the day! Although I need a totally dark room when I crawl into bed at night, in the morning as light begins seeping in around the edges, I start to stretch and smile and think, Oh wow, God gave me another one.

~~That’s most mornings, so you don’t hate my a.m. enthusiasm, I’ll admit there are those other days when what I want is to stuff the pillow over my eyes and wait until somehow a latte magically appears on the nightstand.~~

Life is tough for a morning person. You’re ecstatic from the moment you roll out of bed, feet hitting the floor, brain whirling with every possibility the day holds. The smell of freshly brewed coffee reaches your olfactory sense and you say, “Yes, life is good,” marveling that you get a new day to dive into another project or have a grand adventure.

Except this attitude of delight doesn’t work if you’re married to or otherwise surrounded by non-morning people. Then trouble can ensue. My husband and I met through work and he forbade me (he was not alone in this mandate) from speaking to him before ten-thirty or his third cup of coffee, whichever came first. After sixteen years, I’ve shrunk that to letting him finish one cup before I launch into any of my random, brilliant thoughts.

The world is full of the possible in the time when the sun is rising. The day starts to unfold the same way as opening a book you like to re-read—you might know what’s coming, but you don’t know or remember the details and so it’s fresh for you. Again.

I don’t know when this dawn-love began … it sure wasn’t who I was as a teenager, groaning and snapping at mom and siblings as we meandered into the kitchen for breakfast before school, moaning over whatever food was there that I liked yesterday, but now holds zero appeal.

As a college freshman in the dorms I was voted, “lightest sleeper,” on the floor and I hated eight o’clock classes. Unfortunately, the room I shared with Randi the first half of the year and Jeri the second half of the year (they were fun night-owl gals) was at the top of the stairwell. Girls would come in late, slam the door against the wall, laugh, and carryon as they made their way down the hall to their rooms. I’d whip open our door at three in the morning and scream at them: Shut up! Yes, they laughed at me, as did my easily nodding off roommates, and we’d all go back to sleep. 

When did this delight in mornings take over my life and decide not to leave? Perhaps when I lived in California circa the late eighties. It could have been the temperate weather of Whittier that launched the love of mornings. Not awakening to cold floors under my eager feet or the sounds of a furnace clicking on could have made it easier to get out of bed. The three years I lived there, I used to rise at five-thirty so I had time to bake chocolate chip cookies to take into the office. 

When I left California and moved to Montana, I’m sure it was the amazing sunrises touched with shades of orange and red that motivated me to crawl out from under the soft covers. My first house was along the Yellowstone River in a relatively flat area. The sun shows morning and evening were encompassing in their depths of colors and the promises of what a day might bring, or a sigh of contentment the perfect ending provided.

My last house in Montana had a view of the Beartooth Mountains. I also had a hot tub and if there’s another great way to start a brisk winter morning besides tiptoeing through the snow and dunking into the steamy, still water, I don’t know what it could be. I’d soak, listening to the critter chatter and busy birds in the trees around me and watch as the sky moved from the dark of night into the variety of sunrise shades and fully into dawn.

sunrise my house, Red Lodge, MT

sunrise my house, Red Lodge, MT

From college graduation to relocations across the country and back again, it became clear: I love mornings. I love mornings. I love mornings.

By eight-thirty in the evening, I’m waning. After nine, I’m nearing incoherence. By ten, tuck me in because talking to me is useless. At my magical hour of five-thirty in the morning, I’m back with the land of the living and ready to go again.

Mornings hold every possibility. Click To Tweet

Therein lies the problem.

I love mornings so much and have such an onslaught of energy the moment I’m vertical that I want to do EVERYTHING as soon as I arise.

What to do, what to do!

  • Read the Bible (Spirituality is a great way to start a day, isn’t it?)
  • Write (Work on the second mystery.)
  • Write (That collection of essays won’t produce themselves.)
  • Write (Gotta generate blogs for my site and Medium.)
  • Exercise (I started morning exercising the winter of the broken almost-collarbone-bone in Montana 1993. The only time that changed is when I joined a gym and went after work to burn off the stress of a day in corporate America.)
  • On weekends, visit with my husband (this is especially nice in the summer when we can chat on the deck. Frequently he states: Calm down, it’s too early. I’m not awake. Don’t you have work to do?)
  • Write (Emails! I love to harass my sleepyhead friends by filling up their inboxes while they’re still drooling on their pillows.)

So many things!!

First, I write. Jackie nudges me to finish the (first: Murder the Canalucci Creamery) second (Death of Alon Chasdiel) of what I plan to be three Cosmic Cold Cases of Pittsburgh mysteries because she believes the stories are great fun that can find an agent and a publisher. Thank you, Jackie. 

Second, I email the people I didn’t respond to the previous evening.

Third, I exercise.

Fourth, back to writing until late afternoon when I read others’ blogs and catch up on Medium and other social media. Even when I worked in corporate, by four p.m., my brain was ready for the least difficult tasks of the job: filing, reading emails, making calls. 

See, I can discipline myself, with great effort, to follow a plan that starts with morning joy and spreads throughout a day. 

What about you, my friends? I know some of you have peak time at 11:30 in the evening, others are morning folks like me. How do you take advantage of your peak times?

Goodwick, Wales sunrise