There is something in the dark, something that we can’t define but that we naturally seem to sense. It’s what drives us to fight to stay awake past bedtime as kids, to pull all-nighters as kids with IDs that say we can drink and it is what (beyond Netflix) makes us stay up until 1 a.m. on work nights as kids with bills that say we need jobs. It is a restless potential. It is an eclipsing of life’s hard edges. It is an overshadowing of all of life’s have-to’s. It leaves a space where we can feel the most like ourselves; our ideas and hopes have space to move around in the blank and blanketed darkness, our pants, bras and daily demands can be shed.
When our alarms go off first at 7:15, then 7:30, then 7:45 and ultimately at 8:15 and we rush through a stunted morning routine, not being ourselves but being employees that need to be to work in 45 minutes, it is something for us to look forward to. We will work all day, exhaust our energies and come home to be hugged by our sofas and the night’s comforting potential.
The problem is, though, that we don’t seem to actually do anything with the opportunities that darkness provides. We are too tired, too in need of lulls, so instead we randomly glance up from our current episode of OITNB or the Instagram feed of a complete stranger that six random hash tag clicks brought us to, to admire and appreciate the potential, as though it is a prized tchotchke, stored tidily on a shelf, preserved and pristine. We will move through months and years unaware that that potential wouldn’t diminish with use but would grow.
So what is the solution? (Because we really are very tired at the end of the day.)
In all of the Internet-speak and buzzwords I can muster, the solution is headlined like this:
Untap Your Potential With A Single Lifestyle Change.
Do This One Thing To Become Your Best You.
The One Habit That Will Forever Change Your Life.
The Only New Year’s Resolution You’ll Ever Need.
Ok, I’m tapped. I don’t know how BuzzFeed does it.
What I do know though, is that there is one, simple change, let’s call it the ultimate New Years’ resolution to be seasonally appropriate, that can help make all the other empty promises you were going to make to yourself actually happen.
WAKE UP EARLIER.
Use the darkness on the flipside of the coin. Have your no-pants-do-what-you-want time be at the start of the day when both your physical and mental energy are at their highest. Create a larger expanse of time between waking and working and you will finally have the opportunities to stretch, workout, draw, eat breakfast, paint, bake, take an online class, read, practice, do a crossword puzzle, think, dance, plan, organize your home, study, take a bath, design, cook, garden, knit, breathe, paint your nails, have morning sex that isn’t a quickie, build an online dating profile, clean, take care of yourself, spend meaningful time with your spouse; be you.
Now for as much as I love words, and love them I do, they are man’s greatest creation, I love numbers just as much and by extension, math.
Tangent (!): addressing envelopes is a secret joy of mine because each street number, those little nuggets of number sequences, 4583, 117, 1932, 9836, 754, 6386, 1395, 7712, 989, 3839, 2857, 633, 6420, just make sense and look beautiful when I see them. Numbers never look odd and I find that reassuring.
Back to the math.
(1 x 365)/24 = ?
15 additional days each year for every hour earlier you wake up!
Plus, considering that I have found that the ideal amount of time to allot yourself between getting up and being accountable to someone else (this period of no accountability isn’t so clear cut for parents, my apologies) is 3 hours, that equates to an additional 45 days each year. When you kick complete ass in 2017 and people begin to ask you how you accomplished so much, you can lead off by saying, “Well, first I added 45 days to the year…”
You have become both more successful and a time magician. You’re welcome.
Now whether you start waking up earlier in increments (a la the #sketchyadvice) or tomorrow morning you set your alarm for 5:30 and set your phone across the room, that is up to you. Just start and as the time adds up and you are doing the things you want to do and finally have energy to do (after your first coffee, obviously), you will find that the notion of being up so early isn’t scary at all, it’s liberating.
I’m certain some people are already thinking that this isn’t for them, much like I do when I read well-meaning but totally lackluster health advice like dipping carrot sticks or slices of bell pepper in my hummus or guac instead of chips and crackers. Blech! I want salt and I want substance or I want none of it at all. But the truth is, that this is the most highly amendable habit that you can adopt. It’s not a few calories spared and too much flavor lost, it is a doorway into having the life you want. It is finally pursuing the things you keep tucked in the back of your mind while still listening to the societal norms, bill collectors and relatives that insist you spend the bulk of your day earning wages.
I made the change to early rising about two years ago. It is during those highly coveted and freeing hours, when it’s still too early for even my son to be awake, when outside my window Lake Shore Drive is still empty, when until I made this choice, I would have otherwise been sleeping that the vast majority of my writing happens.. The truth is I was tired of letting the plum ideas that I had for stories become overripe and stagnate inside me, not disappearing, but instead rotting and poisoning my outlook on the daily. The idea of starving artist wasn’t really my thing, so I went with being a full-time business owner, mom and too-many-project-doer who understands that waking up early also means she can be a writer.
- 1 c. champagne
- 1/4 c. raw organic honey
- 3 Tbsp Vital Protein Protein Collagen Gelatin (this is how you are able to classify these as healthy protein gummies and what makes these actually healthy protein gummies when you aren't using champagne)
- As many dashes of Angostura bitters as you love (this is too many for me)
Combine the champagne, honey and a small rain shower of bitters in a small pot. Sprinkle gelatin powder over the top. Wait until all of the gelatin has been absorbed and then over low heat, stir the mixture until all of the gelatin is dissolved. If you have a candy thermometer and can keep the temperature of the mixture below 100 degrees F, you can maintain both the alcohol content of your bubbly and the nutritional and health benefits of the raw honey. Pour the liquid mixture into a 8x4 baking/loaf pan and chill for at least an hour. Cut into gorgeous little gems and try to create portions, if such a thing were possible.
Also, over the holidays I also made several cocktail varieties of these including a Manhattan version with Luxardo cherries embedded in them so please, experiment!
Also, also, when I'm truly being healthy with them and not making everything boozy and thus hoping that all of the collagen and protein will continue to hide the fact that I'm turning 30 in a couple days, these are some flavor combos at I have found to be quite delectable:
- 100% Pomegranate juice/Lime juice/Maple syrup
- Fresh grapefruit juice/raw honey
- Coconut water/lime juice/coconut sugar