I get up early, but I am not a morning person. At work, if I tell people what time I get up and hit the road, they say things like “oh, wow, you must be a morning person.” When I’m at work by 7am, people assume it’s because I can’t wait to get started. No, no. I assure you neither is the case. I’m just trying to avoid rush hour, plain and simple. The pain of getting up early is ever-so-slightly less than the pain of sitting in traffic. At its heart, it’s a choice based on mathematics.
Since starting to commute to work three weeks ago, I’ve completely shifted my sleeping schedule. I was never one to stay up particularly late, but I was in a good pattern of going to bed at 10:30 or 11 and waking up at 7:00. That worked well for me, very well. I still got to work before 8 o’clock (sigh, how I miss walking to work sometimes) and, for the most part, I always felt rested.
Now, now I’m lucky if I can keep my eyes open until 9:30. I get up at 5:45. On days that I work out first thing, I literally roll out of bed, put on my gym clothes, and head out the door. I’m on the road by 5:52. On days that I work out later, I’m still out the door no later than 6:15. I am making it work, but I have to tell you that I always feel tired and I’ve yet to successfully wear contact lenses for a whole day. If I try, they feel glued to my eyeballs by about 3 pm. Sometimes I feel like a shadow of my former self, a sleep-deprived zombie drifting from meeting to meeting with a foggy head that’s daydreaming of naps.
This is how I know I am not a morning person. I do not wake up naturally bursting with enthusiasm for the day ahead. I don’t do my best thinking in the morning. In my world, mornings are for lazy coffee drinking, laying on a couch, and giving time and space for a tired brain to come back to life.
You cannot assume that someone is a morning person simply because he or she gets up early. People who get up early are not always morning people, just like tissues are not always Kleenex brand. I am no posh Kleenex brand tissue. I am an off-brand tissue who needs her damn sleep. Was that too mixed a metaphor? You’ll have to excuse me, I’m writing this early in the morning. Although, now that I think of it, it’s just further reinforcing the fact that people who get up early (i.e. me) are not necessarily morning people (i.e. also me).
What can you take away from this? Well, nothing really…unless you are a tried and true morning person, in which case let this serve as a reminder that your early AM perkiness will be lost on the I-get-up-early-but-am-not-a-morning-person crowd. Before you approach them, ask yourself a few simple questions: Do you see a twinkle in their eyes or the deep sadness that comes from wishing desperately to still be asleep? Do they greet you with enthusiasm when you walk in or a slight nod of resignation? Are your questions about the weekend responded to with complete sentences or one-word platitudes? If the latter is true for any or all, back away, you are not dealing with a morning person. At very least, wait until they’ve had their coffee.