Day 3 – Early

early morning breakfast in Paris

I love getting up early.

The quiet calm of dawn, before the rest of the world awakens. The soft glow of the morning sun peeking up from the horizon. I feel so refreshed and productive when I get up early and start my day alone, without the noise and distractions from the rest of the world.

I never get up early.


That is, I never get up before dawn, to sit quietly by myself and have this ideal morning I envision. No matter what time I set my alarm, no matter what time I finally fall asleep, my mind and body refuses to awaken before 7:30 a.m. I’m actually quite amazed at my internal clock; barring illness, I am awake around 7:30 every morning, even if I had passed out only three hours earlier.

Well, doesn’t that put a damper on my intentions.

I can get up earlier if I had to; I used to get up at 5:30 a.m. for work all the time. But that was more a bleary-eyed, drag-myself-out-of-bed type of getting up. I don’t recall enthusiastically jumping out of bed at 5 a.m. – I don’t recall enthusiastically jumping out of bed ever. I get up in the dark of night to go early-morning hiking with friends, or to catch an early flight out of the country. It is possible.

But that’s out of necessity. I get up because I have to. Work, or travel, or promises to a friend. Plus I’m not given time to think and fall back asleep; there are things to do if I plan to be on time. People are waiting on me.

Is that a reflection on how I value myself? I can get up early for everyone and everything else, but not for me?

The last time I got up before dawn was jet lag from a month in Europe. I had been up for over 24 hours, spending my last morning in Paris having breakfast in a cafe patio facing a lush park, before partaking in the joys of airports, international flights, and Los Angeles traffic. I passed out around midnight, then awoke at 2 a.m.

Unable to go back to sleep, I stayed in bed watching the darkness outside my window get chased away by the breaking dawn. When I had enough light to see, I wandered into the kitchen I hadn’t seen in a month, and decided to have for breakfast a French ham on baguette sandwich, imported directly from the Charles de Gaulle airport and hand-delivered to my refrigerator just five hours earlier.

It was delicious. Oh, the quality of the sandwich was almost American convenience, by no means worthy of the label “French cuisine.” But seasoned with the comfort and relief of being home after a long trip, the quiet birdsong of an empty world before people, and wrapped in a soft haze of Parisian memories while watching the sun come up – I savored every bite. That is the elusive feeling I want to recapture. That is the inner peace I think I’ll achieve, if only I can get up early.

(I might’ve already failed my goals for this writing challenge *cough* simplicity *cough*)

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Comments (2)

  • Jennifer 3 years ago Reply

    You may not be an early bird – do you think this stems from being told that morning people are the most productive people? For a long time, I wanted to get up before 6 AM – and a few times, it worked out. But, I think I’m probably a 6 AM riser, why keep pushing earlier if this is natural? That said, given my 7:30 AM start to the work day, the earlier hours are still more appealing. I’ll keep trying.

    Lily 3 years ago Reply

    Well, I have evidence of being more productive in the mornings; I tend to get more done between 8-10am than between 10am-3pm. I want to get up earlier to slowly ease into my day, rather than rush to get started on my peak productive hours.

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