I have a friend who is training to do an Ironman. When I met her two years ago, she had run the Boston Marathon a few times, but was terrified of open swimming. During the past two years, she has conquered her fear of swimming in lakes and oceans, has completed three sprint triathlons and a half ironman race. She’s also a union painter, which means she’s on the job by 6:30 a.m. five or six days a week.
She’s one of the few people with whom I feel comfortable saying that, in order to fulfill my commitment to write every day this year, I’ve started getting up at 3:45 a.m. I am a mother of two young children, an entrepreneur, an athlete, and a morning person. If I want to commit to doing something that requires physical or mental focus, I put it in my schedule for early in the day. I’m committed to starting the day with my kids at 6 a.m. I’m committed to running at 5 a.m. I’m committed to working with my clients and business team by 9 a.m. That left 4 a.m. as the optimal time to commit to my writing.
I read a quote by Simon Pegg that says, “Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy, and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”
That seems to fit my situation. If I were to tell the truth, I LOVE turning on my “grow light” and lighting my candle in the wee hours of the morn. I gather up the soft blue cotton meditation shawl my friend Peg gave me, wrap it around my shoulders, and turn up the heat. In my wooly slippers, when everyone in my house and most of the world is still sleeping, I put pen to paper. Some days it moves smoothly across, generating word after word. Sometimes my pen looks like it’s stuck in a traffic jam—writing a word or two, then pausing, another word or two, and then drawing a long line across what I’ve written, looking for a detour, before getting stopped again.
My pen and I do this dance until close to 5 a.m. Then I tie on my running shoes and pour my favorite music into my brain through ear buds while the little ones continue to sleep. I listen to Les Miserable, Godspell, Julie Silver albums, and my “Immersed” CD produced by Mayyim Chayyim-–all music that raises my mood and gets my synapses firing while my body runs two miles.
By the time I greet my kids at 6 a.m., I have written, I have run, I have sung, and I have showered. I have engaged with four of my favorite activities that cause me to ‘proudly emote on a somewhat childish level’ before I hug those childish people that live in my house.
I’m tempted to keep all this ‘my little secret’ or take my radical ways underground. The number of people who looked dismayed when I tell them about my wake time has led me to believe perhaps I’m a bit of a freak. Or a geek. Then I think of the people who are really up to something in the world. Listen to the dedication of people who have built amazing businesses and careers. Look at the rigor and dedication of Olympic athletes. I doubt the woman standing on the podium with an Olympic gold medal around her neck cares too much about how people perceive her routine or her dedication to her goal.
This year, I’m coming out with it all. I’m a jubilant morning person and I’m singing it from the rooftops. I have things I love to do, and I know when and how I do them best. Yes, I am awake by 3:45 a.m. and I live a full life before 9 a.m. If that makes me a geek, then call me an Olympic geek. Just don’t call me after 8 p.m. I’ll probably be fast asleep.