Getting up early is perhaps the most antithetical thing I can do toward fostering my extroverted needs and personality. Despite that, I treasure my mornings. I’m not writing this to convince you to become a morning person (otherwise, this would be filed under "essays"). But I would like to talk a little bit about the solitude and the loneliness of being a morning person.
I do not know many people who are morning people. Conversely, I know many people who condemn, curse, and complain about mornings. And so, you can feel a sense of literal loneliness in not sharing many activities or time together with people, and you have the subjective outsider-loneliness of having picked the popularly condemned path.
Perhaps there’s an enclave of morning people who get out there and share experiences together, but I have yet to find them. At best, I squeeze coffee in with a friend before our mutual workdays begin.
That leaves me with quality time with good ol’ me. But surprisingly, I haven’t struggled too much with that. Hobbies have made mornings the well-trod path. Whether it was practicing figure drawings for weeks in a row, or chipping away at long-form fiction, carving out a chunk of the morning to do personal activities has often been what gets me out of bed.
I occasionally consider this stealing energy from other responsibilities. By the end of the day, I’m usually too wiped to be of much use to myself and whatever creative ambitions I might have simmering. I like to think of this as my "coin of energy." Each day comes with a certain amount of energy, and I want to think carefully about how I spend it. Being able to do a little of something, regularly toward a larger goal each morning, gives me a sense of autonomy and direction. Before long, I’ll be slogging through meetings, or struggling with code while also answering questions, all while filing software tickets. It’s the calm before the storm.
Once the morning is long forgotten, and it’s 8:45 or 9:00pm, I’ll be struggling to keep my eyes open. This is where another kind of loneliness comes in. I can rarely stay up late. I never really could. I do not drink, and I do not take drugs, and so the two popular options for rallying your end-of-day-spirits (ie, spending tomorrow’s coin) are not an option. I am effectively cutting myself off from a good portion of a traditional nightlife.
But, I’m not really one for traditions, and I’ve met some similar folks over the past few years. More than anything, though, I’ve learned to embrace the lovely, precious solitude. I never really marked myself as someone who was "good" at solitude, but mornings continue to teach me what I can be “good” at.
It’s a loud world outside this little morning of mine. Soon the day and its inhabitants will be climbing over themselves: city workers cutting down trees, leaf blowers and lawnmowers competing, cars sputtering and spewing while inching toward their destination, the voices of many people rising like balloons into a netted ceiling; the shapes of their voices floating around, the ceiling lowering with each moment.
Inside it’s warm, none of this has happened yet. I may write morning pages. I will make oats. It’s quiet. I flick my coin of energy between my knuckles a few times and feed it into the machine.