05:45. That's what the clock read when I woke up this morning. The day before? 08:03. More than a two hour difference in just a day. What prompted the sudden, voluntary change?
Those of you following this blog would know that for the past few months, I have been experimenting with waking early to write each day. With respect to writing, I have been more successful than I had expected; with respect to waking early, the results have been mixed. The stated goal had been to rise each morning at 07:00, but the reality has been closer to 08:00. Once I was conscious of the reality that I could wake at 08:00, write a short essay, and still make it to work at an acceptable hour, my ability to become alert at 07:00 vanished.
Over the past few days, I had been pondering a more permanent shift in my daily routine, where I would add to the tasks performed in the morning. It was clear to me that my mind would be rather incapacitated in the evening, so I reasoned that other personal endeavors such as reading or coding should be moved to the morning as well, where my mind is quickest. With this inner conviction, I managed to squeak out a few pages here and there in the mornings, but no great change came to be.
So again, why the sudden change?
If the door doesn't open after pushing with all your might, we might as well try pulling at it gently. If all the preparation (sleeping early, eating well, fitness, etc.) and the extrinsic motivators (ambition, success, tangible goals, etc.) fail, then it may be time to try something new: something more internal.
Last night, I ran across this line while reading:
Believe me, it is the sign of a great man, and one who is above human error, not to allow his time to be frittered away: he has the longest possible life simply because whatever time was available he devoted entirely to himself. None of it lay fallow and neglected, none of it under another's control; for being an extremely thrify guardian of his time he never found anything for which it was worth exchanging. So he had enough time; but those into whose lives the public have made great inroads inevitably have too little.
Just a small, internal epiphany: a small reason to treat the morning hours preciously, and refuse to give it away to the Baku. Those words are the string to which all my previous meanderings have crystallized: something that all the cliches in the world (life is short) could not do.
The straw that broke the camel's back; the ant that broke the dam. It often doesn't take much for us to make breakthroughs (especially if we've set the stage for the final straw).
Crossposted from my main blog