Perhaps this year I’ll learn to take myself more seriously.

I didn’t intend to write that to begin with. One of those spontaneous changes of mind I often suffer from. I was going to write perhaps this year I’ll finally start getting up early and then it came out as such. My hands hijacked my initial intention.

I’m not even sure what that means.
Take myself more seriously
Why would I?

Maybe getting up early and being serious are somehow connected in my mind. Maybe because I do not like to take myself seriously I don’t like waking up early? Who knows… What I do know is that I really dislike getting up early – unless I am travelling somewhere.

When I was yea high my parents whisked me off to many different countries, always leaving (or so it seemed) before dawn. I can still feel the pure excitement running through me, the sleepy quietness of the morning, the hushed dragging of the suitcases, the ruffle of our coats, the cool dew-filled morning air, the darkness that would soon implode, the thrill of flying through empty motorways frantically checking for passports and travel documents, that crisp feeling of being awake before the rest of the world.

I knew from an early age that I could, in fact, wake up at any time and be fully functioning if, and only if, I needed to get somewhere at an ungodly hour. There is something about the motion of setting off on a journey that turns my night owl into not just a lark, but a black bird.

I suppose my inadvertent change of the opening line is in keeping with the amount of negative stigma that is attached to sleeping in in the mornings.

The early bird catches the worm.

The web is packed with articles about how much better it is for you to get up early and how it seems to be the only key to success – I know as my father keeps sending me links to them. I seem to be the only one in our village to get up past nine. The amount of times my parents and all other parents have berated me for not getting up early is probably equivalent to the number of stars in the sky.

The thing is, I like the night. And the stars in it.
As a matter of fact, I prefer a rhythm of getting up in the late afternoon and going to bed about half an hour after sunrise. It allows me to be by myself and not worry about what the rest of the world is doing. It means I get to listen to the dawn chorus slowly start and then turn into a full orchestra that finds its peak just before humans crawl out of their homes and destroy the air with their relentless engines.

For about half a year, I lived such a rhythm. I woke up in the glory of the late afternoon light, enjoyed my lunch at sunset, and worked through the darkest hours of the night. As the birds announced the break of dawn, I would slowly detach myself from the computer, listen to the world (minus humans) wake up, and enjoy simply being alive. My smile grew wider as the sun approached the horizon, and I made sure to greet it with some sun salutations and giggles of gratitude. As traffic started to make itself known, I hid away under my duvet and waited for the afternoon sun to light up my room before crawling out again, fully energised.

My parents, who, at that time, lived across the street, could not comprehend how I could waste away like that.

It was one of the happiest periods of my life.

Perhaps I’ve let the world run over my sense of self, yet again, allowing it to trample my personal feel of what is right – for me. We live in a world where everybody is busy judging everyone else and themselves by comparing everyone to everyone. We are told how to live our lives and what to put into (and onto!) our bodies by research groups tasked by those in charge. Our private, personal sense of life is overwhelmed by regulations imposed upon us by our herders, by those who profit from us conforming to a set pattern of behaviour.

I feel guilty for staying up and writing because my husband doesn’t like to go to sleep on his own. I feel guilty almost every morning when I get up as I know I have missed half of the day by the time I am dressed and actually awake – even though, for me, the day doesn’t end when the sun goes down. I am ashamed when the doorbell rings and I have to get up, grab my bathrobe, and run down to sign for yet another delivery from the post office – and rather annoyed when it’s the pervy postman who greets me in my state of utter vulnerability.

I have come to attach getting up early with being serious about life – with belonging, being successful, being with it.

Maybe that’s what I am yearning for?
The feeling of being more than a grumpy teenager who would rather stay up chatting with her ICQ friends than give up on the excitement of discovering the world for the sake of getting a good night’s rest?

Perhaps this year I’ll learn to value myself for who I am rather than try to fit into the kind of person everyone else wants me to be.