I am seldom up earlier than I need to be – I am not a morning person! I stay up late – way too late – because I like to have some time in my own head – and I need a quiet place and time to process and write, or to just get a surer footing in the sand.
I routinely set the alarm earlier than need be and then press snooze repeatedly – so that I am eased into a conscious state. Then it feels like I had the luxury of sleeping in. At times I do the hazy math to figure out how long I need to get ready, and how much time I can possibly shave off, so I can leave the waking and getting up ’till the last possible moment. I have reduced my morning routine to the bare minimum: no elaborate hair-straightening, foundation or fancy make-up. Most days I eat bowl of cereal. I am not a morning person.
I have been like this since my late teens. I remember my mom warning, “You are burning the candle at both ends…” which worried me slightly, because I wasn’t sure exactly what she meant. My sister had the antidote to this however: a poem, pinned on the wall above her desk.
My candle burns at both ends,
It will not last the night,
But oh my foes and ah, my friends,
It gives a lovely light…
Sometimes this still feels like it could be my theme song.
It makes me wonder that perhaps I should have outgrown this night-owl tendency. I sometimes joke that I need a certain level of exhaustion to keep my ADHD tendencies in check. Indeed, there may be a degree of truth within that quip – but mostly – I like the end-of-the-day-time to process.
This morning, however, I am up – the house is quite. I can hear the gentle hum of the fridge, the ticking of the kitchen clock above me and the almost silent clicking of my computer as I let the words fall out of my fingers. The house is still asleep – and I am not. This seldom happens and I am wondering if I am missing out on something. I may be paying an enormous price at the end for that extra four hours that I add to living each day.
There is a quiet place here – and it is light out.
It may be that getting up earlier would give me the chance to get myself (thoughts, and stuff) organized. I have actually been making an effort to shift and change this pattern for myself. I know that it would be healthier, and I hear that I may be damaging my system with a lack of sleep. After mind-bending cognitive gymnastics I have also concluded that morning is the only time that will consistently work for me to get to the gym. But change is oh so hard…
And then H awakens, and the action begins. We give him his medication while he is still in bed, and encourage him to stay there and relax for few minutes. Everyone is happier and calmer this way. He is a morning person. H does not wake up slowly – there is no transition time between deep sleep and walking up. He turns on at ultra-high-super-sonic speed and Tada! He is set to go!!
I guess as we make our way through another action paced day – I might carry with me the perspective that change is hard – even when we can see the obvious benefits of that change. That perspective might make me a little bit gentler with everyone, including myself…
30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.
© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2011)