Guaranteed Me Time

Parents and other grown-ups know that as life’s demands escalate, it gets harder to take care of our own needs. I attend an exercise class that starts at 530 am because that seems to be the only way that I can guarantee fitting exercise into my daily routine. Lately I’ve been getting up even earlier, to crowbar some writing into my day. Four am is so early that even the dog is still asleep. (By 5 am, her optimism kicks in and she follows me around, hoping for a very early breakfast.)

My exercise class is outside. I love that. I love seeing sunrises like this,  instead of the walls of a gym:

The view shortly after class began this morning.

The view shortly after class began this morning.

Admittedly this was one of the nicest sunrises ever. But you get the idea.

sunrise2

The view as class concluded.

Outside, you cry? Are you nuts!? Maybe, but I’m not a masochist, I’m a southern Californian. There are scant few days each year when it is unpleasant to be outside.

(This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge wants to see habits.)

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Before The Day Gets Used

The WordPress Daily Prompt asks: “6:00AM: the best hour of the day, or too close to your 3:00AM bedtime?”

Neither. Both. Sometimes.

alarmclock-clock-broken_~u10900682

Don’t shoot the messenger.

My answer has changed over the years. It used to be that I was only up at dawn if I was still up from the night before. If I could set my own schedule, that would probably still be true.  Actually, what I would prefer is to sleep a few hours at night and the rest of my hours in the afternoon. Afternoons are useless. I like afternoons about as much as Camus’ Stranger likes Sundays. But I digress.  Somebody told me that 4 hrs night/4 hrs afternoon is a paleo sleep schedule: it’s how our distant ancestors slept. Alas, not sure when or if I can give it a try. My sleep schedule has rarely been up to me.  Jobs, schools, doctors, repair guys – they’re the ones in control.

Nowadays, half my body clock seems to be permanently broken. I can still stay up until all hours and most nights I must force myself to go to bed at a decent hour. But – after so many years as a night owl trapped in an early bird world – I cannot sleep in. Period.  So I am now quite familiar with 6 am.

Fortunately, 6a is a marvelous time of day, when all is fresh and full of potential.  In my household, I am the only dawn enthusiast, which makes 6a a “me” time of day. You will find me writing then. Or exercising at my outdoor bootcamp class. Or hiking.  Hiking into a sunrise requires a bit of planning – it all changes so remarkably quickly. The photos below were taken scant minutes apart. Every single day, the world starts in this beautiful way, whether we are there to witness it or not.

A couple minutes before 6a.

A couple minutes before 6a. Goodbye to night.

A couple minutes after 6a.
A couple minutes after 6a. Hello to day.

Clock photo from fotosearch.com