When Thanksgiving arrives, my usual concerns include which stretchy pants are appropriate and how we will fit a visit to everyone in over the course of a four day weekend. This year, we planned well ahead so visits were finalized at the beginning of November and I opted for jeans and indulging in less this year. The week of Thanksgiving, I was concerned with how I would stay on track with Chasing Sunrise Week Three over the course of two days off work: Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
What is really amazing to me is how well things work out when you put a plan in place and stick with it. Even if the end result isn’t perfect, you get a heck of a lot closer to where you wanted to be and what you set out to achieve than if you just wing it. I’m all for spontaneity, but the power of a well formed plan is undeniable. If you don’t believe me, just go watch the A-Team: “I love it when a plan comes together.” I digress.
Everything seems to flow once you get into a routine. During week three, I started waking up about five minutes before my alarm went off. As a result, my check in times slowly became earlier and earlier. Week one my average was around 5:15, even though I was getting up at a strict 5:00am. Week two my average decreased a few minutes to somewhere around 5:08. Week three, my average check in time was 4:57am. You see, when I woke up, I didn’t dawdle in bed waiting for my alarm. That is not what you do when you are seeking to get after something. I got my butt up, brushed my darned teeth, and made some damn good coffee. This bought me extra writing time each morning. I didn’t feel stressed.
Waking up early on Thanksgiving was magical. I had a few hours to myself to collect my thoughts, write, and be peaceful before a day spent surrounding non-stop with people. When I don’t take time for myself, to be alone with my thoughts in the quiet for a little bit, I have more anxiety and less patience around people.
Bottom line, I just felt really great waking up during week three. I did get tired and didn’t stay out super late any of the nights during the long weekend. I was ok with that because the quality time I did have with family, I was more invested, more aware of the current moment, and just felt happy.
For all the success I had in Week Three, I feel like Week Four was that much more challenging. I had my final paper due going into the first day of Week Four so I was up later than expected putting on the finishing touches to submit before deadline. I didn’t get much time to recover because Tuesday night, we went to see the X Ambassadors and Welshly Arms. We had a great time at the concert, but I didn’t get home until nearly midnight and I went straight to bed.
I was basically a zombie all week.
I still woke up when my alarm went off, but I snoozed at least three out of five days and when Saturday hit, I didn’t even bother getting up at 6am like I have most of the prior weekends during Chasing Sunrise. I slept in until I felt like getting up, which was not nearly as late as I expected. You may be saying “UHMMM, hello crazy?! When did 7:30am on a SATURDAY become sleeping in way late???” Chasing Sunrise does that to you.
I didn’t write very much, to be honest I’m not sure I did much more than make coffee and stare at the window wondering about nothing at all thanks to the exhausted fog clouding my brain. Luckily, 5am wake up calls gave me plenty of time to amply caffeinate before heading into work.
I wanted to post this at the same time as Week Three for a couple of reasons. First, I slacked off last week and didn’t get the blog post out for Week Three like planned. Second, I think it’s important to see that this experiment wasn’t just peaches. It was a daily battle where I had to ask myself each morning, “Who do you want to be today?”
I chose the best version of myself which is the me that gets up, kick starts the day, and feels calm and level headed by the time I get to work. That version of me is mindful, in the moment, and kind in great part simply to not being cranky from feeling like I don’t ever have time to do things that I enjoy doing.