I moved into Kevin’s apartment in Brooklyn a year ago. And as much as I was thrilled to be living with my sweetie in a much cleaner, bigger, brighter environment than my old apartment in Queens, the new commute to work, twice as long as my old commute, was an adjustment for me. Namely because it meant less sleep. WHAT.
I have always been a big sleeper. Some people are, some people aren’t, I am. Waking up before I’ve had enough sleep has been, at times in my life, bordering on traumatic for me. (I’m hoping I’ll be miraculously cured of this when I have kids.) You know how some people really don’t respond well to having low blood sugar? If they haven’t eaten in a few hours their personality changes? I’m like that with sleep. It’s the main reason I can’t stay out late anymore. I do not know who I am, nor do I care who you are, past 11pm. I’m a mean old lady. Get used to it.
So it was tough when my wake up time had to change to accommodate the longer commute. Plus, even on days when I had very little to do in the morning, it was suddenly taking me a lot longer to get ready than it had when I lived in Queens. Maybe it was the addition of the boyfriend into my morning routine – the chatting, the smooching, the annoying jokes he’d make, which meant I had to spend time rolling my eyes. Whatever the reason, I could not get my act together.
Still, I was already so put off by having to wake up earlier that I would sleep until the very last possible second, never allowing enough time to get everything done. And if I wanted to do yoga in the morning before work? Or eat breakfast in my own kitchen? Something else had to be skipped. That was the trade off. More sleep + morning yoga = no shower.
Finally, being a grown up and all, I decided enough was enough. There’s absolutely no reason, I thought to myself, that I cannot wake up a little earlier to give myself a running start at the day. I work from 10-7, so I leave the house at 9am. If I get up at 8am (instead of 8:52), I will have plenty of time to get ready each morning. Rarely have I set this kind of rule and followed through on it, but I have to start now, I thought. And 8am is really not so early. People wake up at 7am, 6am, PEOPLE WAKE UP AT 5AM. And they don’t seem to mind! If someone can wake up at 5am to go to the gym, or take care of a screaming baby, or operate heavy machinery, I can surely wake up at 8am to eat food and bathe myself.
Well, that was a few months ago. It’s one thing to make a decision and another thing to execute it. There have been times when I’ve gotten up early for one reason for another, but I haven’t been consistent. I decided to start making my own iced coffee and the anticipation of that pleasurable moment when I’d pour the home-brew into a tall glass, sip and enjoy, all without ever leaving the house, was enough to get me out of bed at 8am on the nose for at least a few days in a row. But that didn’t last, since nothing’s new forever, and even though I still looked forward each morning to congratulating myself for being so frugal and environmental, the iced coffee eventually stopped dazzling me and I snoozed until the last second once again.
One of the lovely things about living with a significant other is that you have a live-in coach when it comes to achieving your goals, big and small – you can remind each other not to use so many paper towels or to turn off the lights in the bedroom if you’re not gonna be in there. (Just turn them off. You’re not in there. Just do it.) You can help each other exercise or wake up early or eat more meals from your own kitchen. So, among other small things we’ve done lately (see: iced coffee) to improve our shared quality of life so that we’re both spending less money, wasting fewer resources, and generally feeling more put together, Kevin and committed to each other this past weekend that on Monday morning we would begin, once and for all, our official crusade to wake up no later than 8am every day. Even if we sat in the living room and drooled while gazing at the cats by 8:01, we were going to get up, dammit. It was going to happen. Let us help one another, we said.
So today was Day Three of the 8am No Exceptions Wake-Up Call. The first two days went well, while today was a bit harder for some reason. We went to sleep at a reasonable hour last night and we both slept well, but when 8am rolled around, he tried to talk me out of it, then I tried to talk him out of it. But we got up anyway – phew – and once we were up, it was really lovely. We got a little exercise in on the first two days, which was so great, and today we just took a nice stroll to the nearby coffee shop (we ran out of the life-improving home brewed iced coffee). Then we came back to the apartment where we hung out with the cats, chatted, each made ourselves some breakfast and had a really nice morning together. All before the work day began. Revolutionary. It’s a trend I hope to continue – I’ll let you know how it goes.
Oh and for the record? I know 8am is not even kinda sorta early for a lot of people. I don’t want it to be “early” for me either, but we’re all wired differently. We’ll see what happens! Maybe I can change my stripes.