I wanted to follow up on Friday's post to talk a little about why I love mornings, and what I do when I wake up so early.
I'm not the kind of morning person that wakes up energetic and singing praise of the day. It is difficult for me to wake up, and I do let myself it snooze once or twice (this is a planned thing, I give myself the time to do it intentionally). I do need a good hour before I feel like myself after waking up. I do 'need' my coffee.
All these things are good and fine. When I say I love mornings, I don't mean that I get up and attack the day. I don't even follow strategies that some suggest, like exercising first thing, or meditating.
I love mornings because it's a time for me to be an introvert. I am a classic introvert, meaning I need time to be alone to recharge. Being around others is draining. Even though my wife is the singular exception to this rule (I wouldn't mind if she joined me first thing in the morning), I like time to be completely by myself. I drink a cup of coffee and check social media. Usually I don't check social media again until the evening, after work.
Then after about 20 minutes, I read. About a year ago, I read this simple idea if you read 20 pages a day (not a lot of reading), every day of the year, you're reading over 7,000 pages through the year, which means you'll read at least 20 books a year, at an average of 350 pages/book. Reading just one more page per day adds another book. But twenty-some books was way more than I had read since I was in high school, and I jumped in. I love this time, and it has helped me value reading over social media or TV throughout the rest of my day.
After about an hour, I go wake my wife up, spend time with her, get her coffee and help her get ready for the day. Given that she works a typical school day, and I work partly after school, this is crucial time to spend together.
Once she leaves, I finish up my third cup of coffee, and read some more or send some emails. Then by 8 or 8:30 I'm either practicing, or heading off to teach a class.
I have found that morning practicing is extremely rewarding. I think much more clearly, and I listen better. My mind is totally alert for a couple hours. In general, I've had my best performances since becoming a morning practicer and I don't think these things are unrelated.
Tomorrow I will tell you the secret to becoming a 'morning person', even if you're certain it'll never work for you.
"Modern performers seem to regard their performances as texts rather than acts, and to prepare for them with the same goal as present-day textual editors: to clear away accretions. Not that this is not a laudable and necessary step; but what is an ultimate step for an editor should be only a first step for a performer, as the very temporal relationship between the functions of editing and performing already suggests." -Richard Taruskin, Text and Act