Monday, October 3, 2016

The Joys of (Not) Being a Morning Person




I have a confession to make to y'all.  I may never see another sunrise, except in the middle of winter.  And you know what, that's okay with me.

I know that I am probably in a minority, at least a minority who admits to this.  Many of my readers and other boomer/retirement bloggers get up early (even without an alarm). They meet the sun, exercise in the early morning, feel that they get more done, and get more "quiet and alone time", depending on their spouse or partner's habits. To them I say enjoy-but don't call me !!!

One of my regular blog reads (not a retirement blog at all) regularly pushes the advantages of both getting up in the morning and "doing stuff" as soon as you do. She even has a class on how to learn to get up early and be a morning person-the implication being that you'll be more successful and better if you do so. Since I love to read much of what this person shares, I simply tune this one out. 

Now admittedly this particular blogger is not directing her message to boomers or retirees. Many of not most of her readers are parents of kids, who need to do things fairly early and motivate kiddos to do the same. I do remember the working days. When I was much younger, single and had a toddler, I worked at a hospital and my shift sometimes involved the seven am shift. In later years I returned to work for a few years and again had to be at work at eight. In both cases though, my technique was to prepare the night before and get up at the last possible minute (I'm big on kids getting themselves ready and taking responsibility once they are past early elementary school). So I understand the need for some to rise early at certain times in their lives even though they are not "morning people".

To look at some of the memes that abound on the web, you would think non morning folks hate those early risers. While this is not necessarily true, I could write a book about living with an early riser and not being one. I love and miss my husband dearly, but his ability to be cheerful as soon as he had showered or had coffee, no matter the hour, was the bane of my existence for years. And frankly, most morning folks like me are very quiet in the evening when we know others are in bed, so we don't quite understand why you cheery morning folks need to share that with us!!

Fortunately once my kids were old enough to prepare for school and get themselves there, they and my husband usually did their own thing, giving me a kiss on the way out (nowhere in the mommy guidebook does it say mom has to get up and cook for teenagers or spouses, believe it or not). In truth, I've raised at least one non-morning person out of the two.

And I do have to tell ya, it  irks me on occasion when people who get up early talk about how much more they get done, how much more efficient they are in the morning and how important morning time is-and how we should learn to do like they do. People, the reason you are so efficient in the morning is because you like mornings-seriously!!!!!

Now that I am taking marijuana to help me sleep, I am not as much of a night owl as I used to be. I am generally asleep between 12 and 1, and because I live with people who need to still leave the house for things like school and work, I'm usually awake by nine and often by eight. Having said that, this does not mean that I am "up and at em" at that hour!

Even at eight (or sometimes nine), I still need time to become fully alert enough to do anything constructive. In fact, my morning routine is to move from my bed to my favorite chair by the window. There I sit usually for at least an hour. I light a candle, and have my morning caffeine and a breakfast biscuit or something similar. I do my morning meditation, look out the window at what is going on, get myself organized and make any daily (or weekly plan). in truth, some days I am in that chair for two hours or so, checking my email, writing in my journal or more.  THEN I begin on my day in earnest.

Even as I write this, someone somewhere is saying, "but how does she get anything done?".  Well first of all, I'm a retiree with an empty nest, so I don't HAVE to get as much done as I once did.  And second, I do get much done, just at different times of day than morning people.

Exercise? Done later in the day walking on the path or in the pool. It works for me because many of my volunteering and my crafty hobbies are sedentary and this gives me a break in my day. Projects and volunteering?   All done in the afternoon. Crafting and hobbies?  Often done during the day, but also done after dinner when others are winding down and watching TV, reading or even getting ready for bed. Enjoying the peace of my yard, some silence and letting my creative brain do it's brainstorming? Again, in the peace of the evening, often after dark.

I think the bottom line in the morning versus non morning thing is knowing thyself and working with what you have. My busiest and most constructive time is from around noon to four, with a quick burst of post dinner energy. Since morning time is NOT my most constructive time, I save that for reading, spending serious outside time on my swing watching the dogs, journaling, daydreaming and mindless busy work 

On the other hand, the afternoons and evenings include that daily exercise,  volunteering eight hours a week at minimum, taking a college class or two, being involved in a crafting group, and a book group, and enjoying my weekly day trip or breakfast out and a movie. In other words, being a slow and lazy riser does not in and of itself a shchlumpalump make!!

Whenever folks ask me the two favorite things about retirement, I always say leaving the alarm behind, and never having to shop on the weekend again. There is some humor in those responses and these are not the only things I love about retirement, but you get my drift.

So to all my early rising friends I say this: keep it up. Enjoy that sunrise, and maybe even take a picture for me. Smell the fresh morning air. Spend an hour doing whatever you usually do intensively in the early morning. But be kind to those of us who are "different"-including that spouse who might prefer to remain in bed while you jog to the sunrise.

And whatever you do, don't call me before noon!!!








16 comments:

  1. I am not a morning person either. Having spent 24 years getting up at 5:30am every morning to get to work, I am enjoying retirement and not rising until 9am. However, as my family can tell you, there is no talking to me until I have had coffee and been up for at least an hour. My dad was a morning person and used to drive my mom, sister and I crazy when at 7am, he would want to discuss the to do list of the day,tell jokes and (omg!) sing. Morning people should do their thing but leave those of us non-morning humans alone.

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    1. Sounds like my late husband, he defintely required some training. And its absolutely hilarious because the first few years of our marriage he ran a private club, getting home at two and getting up when the kids jumped on him.

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  2. Being an early bird in not a virtue! I actually am an early riser, as that is what my body tells me to do. But during the evening, I can forget about being productive! I am ready to fall asleep by 9:30, but try to stay up at least until 10.

    It seems to me that people naturally fall into being early birds or night owls. Nothing wrong with either one. It seems only right that we should listen to what our bodies tell us to do :-)

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    1. I agee. Were probably all neaturally the way we are and we need to adjust that for work or other issues.

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  3. A kindred spirit! I've never been a morning person, always an 'owl' or a 'dreamer.' Before my husband and I married I told him that I would not be getting up to make him breakfast, and if that was going to be a problem, he needed to know it before things went any further. He said he could live with that, and has been making his own breakfast for nearly 38 years.

    I woke up to an alarm clock for years though to get our children up and ready for school, and make them a hot breakfast and their lunches, even when they were in high school. Still, I was never able to reset my body clock, and the best days were always those where I didn't have to set the alarm and could wake up naturally. When my husband retired I passed the baton to him for breakfasts and such, and I now get up when my body is ready, usually around 9:00 a.m. It takes me a good hour to get going, and everyone has learned to leave me alone with my coffee and computer for that hour.

    As the saying goes, 'if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy,' and we're all much happier these days ;-)

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  4. Slowly reverting back to night owl is tough when married to a "morning glory " person. The pots start knocking at 5:45 around here and he is in bed by 9. I want to move the sewing machine into my "room" in the next month and begin to sew at night. My most productive hours are from 7- midnight and I have wasted the last few years on the TV! No more!
    Glad to know I am not the only one!

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    1. Nope, and Ihave got it down so my "office/studio/whatever" is in as quiet a place I can get it.

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  5. While I do get up early and watch the sun rise, I am not a happy camper first thing. I need my coffee and walk before I feel ready to face the day.

    God bless.

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  6. I'm not a morning person either. I'm usually up until midnight and sleep eight hours. Sometimes a little more. I find I'm most productive in the remaining hours of the morning, though.

    I refuse to feel guilty. I got up for work for 40 years. Now I'm retired and I can listen to my body. It says, "Sleep some more."

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    1. Amen. My sister in law goes to bed after midnight and gets up at six for work-by choice. She doesnt understand why I cant do what she does.

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  7. If you were to read my blog you would know that you and I are on the same page. I am not an early riser and never have been. Looking back now that I am retired I don't know how I managed to get to work at 8am every day. AND I am married to an early riser but I have trained him to keep the dogs and himself quiet until I arise! Anyway great post.

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  8. I do my best work and thinking in the morning. Having said that, I am enjoying the slow mornings of retirement; 3 yrs into retirement and I'm still not over it. I love not waking up to the alarm and rushing to get out the door before 8am. I still awaken between 7-8am as a rule but now there's time to start the day with a slow coffee and reading, including the blogs that I enjoy. We all have a natural circadian rhythm; some people do their best work in the dark and some in the light. My mom makes reference to "having a meeting with herself" - meditation? planning for the day? I like that phrase. Many mornings, I find myself having a meeting with myself in the chair by the window with a cup of coffee.

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  9. well here is the deal, for all my working years I would stay up to late and hate the alarm. now retired for going on 7 years I am in bed by 9:30-10 and up every day at 5- 5:30 no alarm......what is up with this?

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  10. I typically wake up once or twice during the night (peri-menopause will do that to you), and then at 7:00 AM to ready my daughter for school. After I drop her off at school I TRY to go back to sleep until, well, whenever my body says it's time to wake up, usually no later than around 10:00 AM. It's hard not feel guilty about the "extra" sleep and waking up later in the morning when my husband and his family consider waking up later as being lazy (waking up at 8:00 AM is considering "sleeping in" to them). It's always uncomfortable whenever they bring up the subject, I feel like I'm being judged.

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