I pretty much still look exactly this good when I wake up in the morning.
I miss being a morning person. Until turning thirty, I’d bound out of bed singing, “Oh, what a beautiful morning. Oh, what a beautiful day!” It would be animated—arms reaching up and everything. That’s no exaggeration. I’ve done that. When I wasn’t singing, I’d wake up talking. Matt, my boyfriend, used to call me Chatty Cathy. When a crack of light creeped through the curtain, I’d just start: “I like the color purple. Do you like the color purple? What do you want to do today? Did you see…?” I’d open the curtains with a spunk and vivacity only exhibited in musical theater. As I write that down, I realize Matt really should have left me by now. He likes to sleep in and he moans every time actors break into song.
Sadly, I’m not the morning person I used to be, and it’s made me realize that the non-morning people in my life—Matt, my mom, and my best friend since childhood, Julie—must all really love me. They are not naturally morning people. And now, if I woke up to a person as chipper as I used to be in the morning, I think I just might wind up in prison.
I used to wake Julie up by clanging the hinged metal handle on her dresser like a door knocker. She knew it was me, of course. Her lack of functionality in the morning didn’t turn her into an idiot. Her room didn’t make random noise when I wasn’t there. I was grateful on the mornings when her mom didn’t do Julie’s paper route for her because it meant Julie would be up before daybreak. I was awful.
My mom only got to sleep in when we went to visit my grandparents. My grandma would protect her at all costs, entertain me all morning, and woo me with Trix, an especially effective tool because we weren’t allowed sugary cereals at home.
On a rare occasion that I felt guilty for waking my loved ones and chose not to disturb them, I had to remove myself from the situation. The situation being their sleeping bodies. If there was a warm body around, I started talking. Exercise helped. It was always a good way to burn off my excess energy in the morning and extract myself from the people I cared about.
When I was a kid my mom used to get up earlier than she really needed to before work because she required “time.” Time usually involved coffee or tea. I couldn’t understand. If you knew how long it took you to shower, dress, and eat, that should be all the time you need. Why get up any earlier? But now I get it. I need time. I want a hot cup of tea, and I just want to sit there—first in bed, then in a chair, as I slowly assume an upright position.
I compromise between setting the clock a little earlier and trying to pick up the pace of my daily routine. This is a challenge because I move slower in the morning and because each year seems to require a new ointment or pill. You wouldn’t think that would add to your schedule, but it does, especially when it takes about five minutes of looking at a tube, bottle or pill to recall what exactly I need to do with it. I’m a little dense in the morning these days. To help with my newfound morning mental incompetence, I started doing the New York Times crossword earlier this year. I can’t say that I’ve noticed improvement. I still need to think hard in the morning about how to apply toothpaste to my toothbrush.
It’s been over six years since I last awoke with excitement and anticipation of the mischief of the morning. I miss the feeling of knowing I have a full, glorious day ahead, even if I’ll be asleep by nine. Life is easier for morning people. I can say this emphatically. When waking up is easy, the whole day is better. Literally every morning I wish I was a morning person again. I don’t know why I stopped waking gleefully before the sun. Perhaps on wishbones, birthday candles and shooting stars it’s time to change my wish from being happy to being a morning person.