“Watch, now, how I start the day”

Why I Wake Up Early

Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who make the morning

and spread it over the fields 

and into the faces of tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the

miserable, the crotchety-

best preacher that ever was,

dear star, that just happens

to be where you are in the universe

to keep us from ever-darkness,

to ease us with warm touching,

to hold us in the great hands of light-

good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.

-Mary Oliver

Recently a group of friends and I were discussing morning routines. Most of us are now retired, and we lamented how we sometimes miss our morning work routines, how our coffee, newspaper, and the morning news gave our days purpose. 

My own morning routines have evolved over the years. The quiet of of my single days, the chaos of the demanding needs of babies, and the raucousness of life with boys dramatically changed when I retired four years ago. Suddenly I had no where to go, no bells to announce the start of my day. That first summer I dove deep into my writing, sitting at my desk almost every morning pounding out whatever random ideas floated through my head. I loved this new life. Producing almost three to four blog posts a week, I felt productive. I was a finally a writer. I continued this routine for over a year, inspiration sprouting like wild flowers from my crazy retired brain.

As the months went by, though, I began to slow down. Doubt, fear, and regret crept into my psyche. When my confidence withered, so did my morning writing routine. Then life threw us a few major bombs, including a new job for my husband, which required a move from our hometown to a city in a neighboring state. This restarted my writing, where I gathered inspiration from selling our stuff to downsizing to adjusting to this different life. 

Once we settled in, my writing suffered…again. We have been here almost two years, and I have never really found a good morning writing routine. I’ve moved my desk around to various corners of my office, tried to write in libraries or coffeehouses, and even moved the laptop to the porch on nice days. Nothing seemed to stick. Yet…I missed those mornings when I sat at my teal green desk, tapping the keyboard of my pink Mac. They gave my life design. 

And now I want that back, yet I realize I can’t recreate the past. Now is different than yesterday. Routines are meant to evolve, and now I see an opportunity to create something new. These mornings free from expectations and duty are a gift. My teal desk and pink laptop are calling me back, allowing me to set my own schedule, my own routine. I will embrace the mornings, and remember Mary Oliver’s words, “Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”

(Another thing I have missed are morning walks. Today I wandered among the remnants of spring. Joy.)

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