I spent my first year at Lawrence not feeling great — staying up too late, going out too much and doing many other impractical things.
It wasn’t until the summer after my freshman year — when I worked as a SLUG intern — that I began to discover the art of waking up early.
I began to welcome the sun seeping in through my windows instead of rolling over and pulling the covers over my head.
As I became comfortable and even enthusiastic about waking up early in the morning, I began to use my time more skillfully. I would usually run down to the garden before anyone got there to work or sit or look at things.
The morning became a space I could inhabit quietly and solitarily with the choice of how to start my day.
I like to have rituals. These usually change with the weather. Some of my top choices: taking a walk, moving my body another way, brushing my teeth while sitting outside if it’s nice out, drinking something warm, sitting, reading, making something.
While it can be hard to justify relishing a time liberated from your schedule — when we are constantly studying, working and not seeing enough of the important people in our lives — I find that taking this time helps me to be more productive and more willing to share my time with others.
It helps me to take a step in the direction of not complaining about all that I have to do — and thus what I cannot do — and instead using that energy to just do the task at hand with no drama.
It also seems to me that after a while, the rest of the day starts to resemble the part you “take out” — it’s more enjoyable, it’s drama-free, you notice that you have choices even when you feel like you’re just going through the motions or attending to details. It feels like getting up instead of rolling over and feeling grateful for the ability to take that action.
I don’t mean to suggest that everyone should be an early riser, but rather that I think it’s important to create that space for oneself — without laptop, planner, text messaging — for some time every day. I like the morning — maybe you’re a night person — but really at any time of day, it’s possible to turn off your phone and do something that feels genuine.