Spring semester started here yesterday. It’s funny that Spring semester begins in winter. Gives an odd feel to the whole thing when I look out the window and see that it’s snowing.
I didn’t consciously do any New Year’s resolutions this year, but unconsciously I see that I did. One of them was to get back into a regular exercise routine, which began to falter mid-October when it seemed I didn’t have time for that any longer. Another was to get back into a regular writing routine, which began to falter shortly after I moved into my new house, and suddenly house things needed doing. And lastly, one that I seem to have decided to do just several days ago, a last minute resolution, I suppose, is to try my best to become a morning person.
This is more difficult than it might at first seem.
I have always, since I can remember, been a night person. Mornings are my enemy. Well, not morning in and of itself, but waking up early in the day is, which is not good for a world built around waking up early. I’m not sure how it happened, how much of this is nurture and how much of it is nature, or if it’s neither of these things and some other thing altogether that affects our diurnal and nocturnal patterns of waking and sleeping, but since I was little, I felt more alive in the dark, late at night. When the clock struck midnight, I’ve always been still ready to keep on reading, talking, watching television, spontaneously making cookies, dancing, partying, anything really–this is about energy levels, after all–but when morning comes, early morning, I’ve always winced and shuddered at the thought of it. Which is surprising, as I grew up on a little farm, and despite it not being the main means by which my family supported itself, you *still* were expected to get up early most days and do chores. Mine were feeding and giving fresh water to the cows, and cleaning out their stalls. Yuck. Maybe that’s why I’ve hated mornings for as long as I can remember.
That aside, I do have some sort of trouble properly waking. It takes me a very long time. It’s as if I’m stuck in dreams, and the transition from that world to this one is a struggle. There’s always a short period where whatever I was doing in my unconscious state and my waking blur together, and I say things that don’t make any sense to someone fully awake, and the walls of wherever I’m at, somewhere unfamiliar or even at home, shift like the staircases in Hogwarts, and I bump into them as if they’ve shifted places on me overnight. I mumble a lot, probably seem like one of the crazies on a downtown street corner, I shuffle and sit down somewhere and prop my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands on the way to where I’m going (most likely downstairs to the kitchen) and maybe fall asleep again for a half a minute several times before actually getting there. It’s not a pretty moment for me.
But the other night I decided to start getting up in the range of 6:30 to 7 in the morning. This is a huge change for me, but I believe in the end it’ll be a beneficial one. I did get up at 7 in the morning in Japan, but this was *only* because I had to be at school to work by 8. (I was a zombie then, too, walking into the teachers’ lounge, mumbling my Ohayo gozaimas to everyone in my path). I rarely teach classes in any semester before ten in the morning here, though, so it’s not really that I need to do this to be ready for classes. It’s more that I want to use time in the morning to write, rather than my afternoons and evenings. I always feel really good once I’ve got some writing done for the day, and it can sort of set a good tone or mood for me for the rest of the day. Why wait, I figure, to do this till afternoon or evening, when I could potentially feel good for the rest of the day if I just do it in the morning?
So I woke at 6:40 yesterday, and things went rather well all day, actually, until around 8:30 at night I completely crashed. Seriously, I went to bed at 8:30 at night. I don’t think I’ve ever gone to sleep that early before, except when I first moved to Japan and was going through some serious jet lag. But I was up again this morning early, and it was still kind of terrible to wake up, but I’m hoping it’ll slowly become an easier thing to do. Changing one’s sleep patterns, is how this is usually referred to, but I feel like it’s changing one’s nature. Maybe it isn’t truly nature, but it certainly does feel like it because despite changing my sleep patterns my energy patterns haven’t changed yet. I didn’t feel, yesterday, as if I ever had that extremely alive feeling that I get in the evenings.
So I’m hoping that’ll eventually shift time zones as well. Otherwise, I’ll call this experiment in living differently a failure, and potentially disastrous, and go back to being a night person and sleeping in later and seeming like a layabout to others who think that waking early is a virtue. (By the way, it isn’t. It just means you’re highly socialized/enculturated/or forced to be at work at a certain time like I was in Japan!)