By Emily Jones
I get teased a lot for going to bed with the setting sun and getting up with the chickens. It’s true I am an early riser — always have been.
A couple of years ago I figured out that the morning is the only time of the day that no one can take away from you. There are no phone calls, no text messages, no drive-by boomboxes to rattle the windows, and no chores to be done for the next few blissful hours.
I’ve never understood those folks who keep hitting the snooze button in the morning, then have to spring out of bed to get dressed in 20 minutes and race to work. Sounds like a recipe for ulcers to me.
Since I get up about the time some people are just getting in, the world is eerily quiet and peaceful — aside from Rebel Dawg’s snoring and the gentle whir of my ceiling fan. I can concentrate without interruption on the inspirational material I keep on my bedside table, and challenge myself to clear my cluttered mind and focus on what’s really important. Things like which fad diet I’ll follow for the day ahead and what color I want to dye my hair — stuff like that.
I make copious lists of things that need doing and figure out which ones can safely be put off until tomorrow. I talk to myself when I have something profound to say, waking Rebel and Lucky Dawg. They raise their heads, peer curiously at their dorky mistress, roll their eyes and go back to sleep.
All this takes quite a lot of time and I drink an entire pot of coffee. By 6:30 I’ve gathered enough nervous energy to spring from bed like a woman shot from a cannon. Then it’s off to the races as the rest of the world horns in on my one-woman party.
Here come the distractions one by one. Matt Lauer and Al Roker are the first to invade my space, depressing me with the news and weather which is almost always bad. Rebel throws up the stick he just ingested, and I burn the toast while cleaning up after him.
The school buses barrel around my corner shaking the house on its foundation. My “dumb phone” begins to ring and the ping indicates I have text messages anxious to be answered. Yadayadayada.
Maggie Jackson, columnist for the Boston Globe and author of the book “Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age,” writes “The way we live is eroding our capacity for deep, sustained, perceptive attention — the building block of intimacy, wisdom, and cultural progress. Moreover, this disintegration may come at great cost to ourselves and to society … The erosion of attention is the key to understanding why we are on the cusp of a time of widespread cultural and social losses.”
I like to think I’m saving a piece of our culture with my morning routine when all things seem possible and the world is my oyster. By dark I expect to get three marriage proposals, two wolf-whistles and to make the perfect pot roast.
And, if I try real hard I can probably flap my arms and fly. But I won’t. I’d probably break a hip.
Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement. She welcomes comments at http://www.deludeddiva.com .