It doesn’t matter which time zone I’m in or which continent I’m on – I have something to confess. Borders won’t keep me confined to my truth any longer; the majority will not bully me into pretending to be someone I’m not. I need to come out to more than just friends and family already, even though most of the world thinks we’re vile, overzealous human beings. I don’t care anymore, here it goes –- I’m a proud morning person.
So much animosity towards us morning people! We rise too early, when the rest are in deep sleep. We boast about our morning rituals while you sprawl in your big fluffy bed. So I’m going show the benefits from my perspective as I dissect being a morning person anywhere in the world. Maybe just maybe you’ll try it out once. Or maybe you’re already with me.
Can you hear the morning birds cooing from under the weight of your sheets? Can you feel the early morning chill and see the dew from the night before? Birds of all types, (maybe even roosters) are beginning to make sound and they want nothing more than for you to join them. But you persist on dreaming and dozing off.
Ah, then there’s the sound of quiet. Hear that noise? It’s the sound cars and trucks and traffic don’t make since they haven’t woken up yet. Take an early morning stroll wherever you are. With your winter boots to the lake, or flip-flops to the shore. There’s guaranteed to be few interruptions as you walk in calmness at this hour.
The morning can be a little dark and scary, but I promise if you see the absence of light in the early morning, then you will soon see the light rise. Watch the brightness slowly appear around you, too fast if you’re not paying attention. If you’re lucky enough to catch the sunrise (hint- you’re always capable of rushing to catch it) then you have the only reason you need to get out of bed.
Flashback a few months ago to my time spent on the island of Gili Air off the coast of Bali. A friend and I woke from our dark beach-side bungalow and debated getting up for sunrise. With no windows in the room we had no way to gauge what time of day it was. But my mind was racing at the excitement of catching the sunrise. We could make it happen, we just needed the stamina to get out of bed and rush to see it. I woke her up like a kid on Christmas morning and insisted that we get there on time. She hated me in the moment, but I promised her the joys of the sun and a divine morning. I had a lot riding on this particular sunrise.
We got dressed in our groggy states and jumped onto our rented bicycles. The sun was meant to rise behind the mountains of Lombok, so our only option was to bike around half the island to catch it in time. When it’s dark at this hour it’s so hard to appreciate what will come. Every morning is the same, or so the night owls think. We made it to a prime spot on the beach and sat watching the mountains across the water. This better be worth it, I thought (doubting my own morning convictions). After all, I dragged her out of a deep slumber.
But just then, right on time, the sun rose behind the mountains. A little peak of warmness, then a radiating yellow sun at the apex in complete brightness. The sun so bright it forced me to close my eyes and soak it all in. And then it rose to a majestic height and I felt the rays of heat welcome me to my day.
So we hopped on our bikes and rode around the other half of the island. We played a morning game by ringing our bicycle bells and calling good morning in Bahasa to all the locals who were preparing their shops. “Ding-Ding, Selemat Pagi!” They’d laugh and give us those beaming Indonesian smiles and say it back to us as we rode on. This is an extreme way of how to be the ultimate stereotypical, joyful morning person, but I have to tell you it made me laugh harder than I can recall. The mornings are damn beautiful if you let them be.
We rode a swing built in the water off the beach, we stopped for coffee, and had some real talk about serious things in our lives, all made softer by the warmth and serenity of the morning. And when we felt like we’d spent the most enjoyable morning possible, we looked at the time to notice it was only after 8:30 am and the entire day was still ahead of us. This was so much better than being hungover until 11 am (though of course the argument can be made for fun nights out too). This was my favourite morning to date, so I had to revisit it and write about it again.
But here I am in Thailand on a quiet morning. The mornings here are the chilliest time of day (16 fierce degrees Celsius), and I welcome the cool air after days and days of endless heat in the south. I’m the first to rise in the tree house accommodations and I’ve already gotten through yoga and a morning meditation (a potent combination to start an actively mindful day). I’m listening to the birds, drinking a strong cup of black coffee, and finding the time to catch up on writing.
A friend just woke up early as well, and we went to the local's market together in a non-touristy part of town. The locals were already well settled into the rhythm of their Thai morning. They do this every day- setting up the market and selling their fresh mangoes, their sweet and salty noodles, sticky rice stuffed in sugar cane. We walked back to enjoy it all before others had even woken up.
But maybe you’d just rather be in bed instead. Catching up on needed sleep that was stolen from you the night before. Or maybe you’d rather twist your legs further around your sheets and pull the pillow over your head since those birds won’t shut up. Maybe we hear the birds in such different ways and we really are divided into early birds and night owls (and those somewhere in between).
If you know me in the morning, then you know I’m peppy and full of energy. Sometimes in your groggy state you might stare at me and tilt your head as my thoughts race around and I’m completely elated about the possibilities of what’s to come in the day. You’d look at me like I’m a monster in that moment, but I know what’s best for you at this time. Trust my morning judgment. After all, you’re still half asleep.
So here's a challenge for you now: Schedule just one day in the upcoming week and make plans to spend time with a friend at 6:00 am.
You can do anything together… take a walk, meet for coffee, drive to a lake and watch the sun rise—anything goes. I guarantee that you’ll be annoyed when you wake up, but as the morning progresses you'll feel different from any other morning you’ve experienced for the past amount of months, maybe years. What’s one morning of your life?
I don’t judge you for not being a morning person. Hell, maybe if you were, then my mornings wouldn’t be the same. All I can say is that it’s still early morning now, and it’s still just as quiet and beautiful. And I have the entire day ahead of me.
Good morning, Chiang Mai.
What time of day makes you feel lively?