Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Realizations of a Reformed Non-Morning Person

At my worst, the summer of freshman year of High School I was known for not rising out of bed until 2 in the afternoon. Countless times I would stay up into the wee hours of the night (or morning, I shall say--sometimes 5 a.m.). I remember being shaken and woken up once by a friend, saying "Come on! Get out of bed! Let's go to the beach! It's 2:30!" Living in Michigan, where you're lucky to have 3 months of the year in sunshine-y, blue sky weather...this was not the best life choice. Yet...I was a teenager.

I'm told this has always been my way, though. My mom has always teased me for my resistance to being a "Morning Person" with constant reminders to the story of my birth. "You cried for the minute when you came out--and then directly fell right to sleep!" I'm told that I spent most of the first year of my life sleeping, leaving my mom to miss my smiley face for a good portion of the day.

Since that summer in High School, my adherence to a schedule and acceptance of a proper bedtime progressed. I have always put my all into the things I do--whether it be school or work--so I never let the night owl in me keep me from my personal goals and success. However, I do remember one too many nights in my early years of college, staying up till 3 a.m., before an 8:00 a.m. Psychology class. I always figured, "Live now! I can always sleep later." I wouldn't allow the monotony of a strict schedule get in the way of my spontaneity and fun. I skipped breakfast almost every morning to make up for the lack of sleep I was alotting myself. I tipped the scales as far as I could sometimes, to the point where I was a barely-functioning, coffee-without-breakfast, wobbly shell of an Alison. Sitting in class, helping customers at work, doing my homework...some days I was functioning at about 60%.

Nearing the end of my college years, my habits began to mature. Yogurt or a protein shake became my go-to breakfast. I wasn't going to give into this whole 'early riser' lifestyle, but I would utilize a few tricks to improve the art.

Stephen, being the Early Bird that he is, sometimes found fault with my ways. He is most at ease when he has consistency in his daily routine: meals, sleep, errands, etc. In Thailand, when we first experienced living and working together, we learned how to work with one another's routines. There was compromise from both ends (to be honest, mainly mine--but I think the push was necessary) and I think we collaborated well. Having an influence like Stephen to hold myself accountable to really helped me learn the benefits and joys of having a steady routine.

Everyone functions differently and I think that although I've spent most of my years fighting consistency and strict guidelines, I do believe there is room for change and growth. However...I would not say that I am now a member of the Morning People's Club. Still. Thought you could change me, huh?!

I still delight in the spontaneous pleasures of a late-night, unplanned, uninhibited, forget-about-tomorrow-live-now kind of experience. I like lazily laying in bed on a Sunday morning, reading (nowadays, sleeping in is more like 10 a.m.). I like not knowing what I'm going to have for dinner. I sometimes make last-minute decisions. I like getting lost in the moment and losing all sense of time. I like to allow myself to be immature sometimes. I like having options.

But working 8:30-5:30 everyday and going to bed between 10 and 11 each night, I've found myself feeling refreshed and on top of my game. Consistently. After growing accustomed to daily variances for so long, it's actually kind of weird. I'm sure that finally having a work schedule has benefited this, but I really do feel much more clear-headed and content. I like waking up and feeling rested. Breathing in the fresh, misty morning air when walking out to my car. Having a whole day ahead of me, full of opportunities! Having limited time in a day actually makes you make the time for the things you love.

Although my "go with the flow" attitude and tendency to ignore the concept of time can be disorienting for Stephen, I think he still loves me. It's good to have different types of personalities and Stephen and I can learn more from one another, this way. I get back on track and enjoy feeling refreshed, while he learns to loosen up from time to time.

It's funny the things that become important as you grow older. Before, it was video games at 2 a.m., now, it's "How do my partner and I harmoniously blend our schedules to be most rested, productive and happy?" There is still more to perfect in this venture, given our differing work hours, but we're definitely onto something.

{i.e. Purchase reading lamp to assist in bedtime reading so as to not keep Stephen awake. Noted.}

Life has silently slipped into a domestic picture, but we are still the adventurers who traversed the wild, untamed spaces of Thailand, long-tail boating and tuk tuk-ing with a farang's grace. The daily grind has the tendency to wear on both Stephen and I...

Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Do errands. Check bills. Make phone calls to friends/family. Maybe time for one activity. Go to sleep. Rinse. Repeat.

"Why can't there be more time in a day?"

It can feel like a constant momentum is propeling you forward each day (sometimes the mind not catching up with the body entirely), leading you somewhere you aren't exactly sure of, but it all has a purpose. I believe there are some incredible things to come in our future. And there are always opportunities for adventure just around the corner, when we feel we need to cash in. Although I miss the freedom and unexpected occurences of traveling the world, I am grateful to have a place to call home. Bedtimes, working hours, grocery shopping and all.

Don't worry, we haven't forgotten how to have fun.


  1. Alison, I love your writing style and am so happy to see you guys are enjoying this new chapter of your lives. I love and miss you both, though. I'm going to have to plan a trip soon..

  2. Thank you, Nina! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really do like it down here and would r e a l l y like it if you made a visit!