why mornings are the best

Takashi Murakami,  "Dragon in Clouds,"  Museum of Contemporary Art

Takashi Murakami, "Dragon in Clouds," Museum of Contemporary Art

I never used to be a morning person. I liked sleeping until noon, burrowed underneath fluffy covers, and then racing into the rest of the day, full steam ahead. 

Then I had a kid, and . . . ya know. Between 3 a.m. feedings, 5 a.m. cries, and 10 p.m. wake-ups, those initial months taught me to cherish (CHERISH!) sleep. But I still loved sleeping in.

Or maybe you've already boarded this early morning train, like my friend Emily, who has waxed poetic about waking up at the crack of dawn for years. (And she's literally the most energetic and productive person I know, so that's saying something.)

Mornings are like breakfast, and exercise, and not gossiping, drinking less, and going to church--good for you, but not necessarily what you wanna do on a given day. It feels very grown-up, this whole sliding out of bed quietly while the rest of the family sleeps, walking downstairs using my phone light, noting the brush of the cat's fur on my ankles as she skitters past, pouring a cup of cold brew in a daze, settling into the couch.

My first thought usually revolves around work: where to fit more in, what things I can check-off my list, how I can "do" as much as possible today. Then some mornings, like today, I pay attention to the quiet that an early morning can offer.

The tick-tock of the clock. The sound of my own breath. The muted lights, the cicadas murmuring outside the window, the plushness of the couch, the click-clack of keys typing or the scratch of a pen in a notebook.

No matter how many times I hit snooze, waking up early means carving out a slice of the day that's just mine. To think. To pause. To sit and be still. I'm not mama, responding to every need. I'm not a daughter or friend, connecting in conversation. I'm not a wife, catching up with her husband and partnering on all things big and small. I'm not an employee, hustling through email and meetings. I'm not even a writer, really, anxious to put perspective on a page. 

I'm just myself, alone, in the quiet. And I'm learning how much I need that.