December 3rd, 2007

Here Comes The Sun

Song Info (from Beatlesongs):”Here Comes the Sun” is on the Abbey Road album and was 100% written by Harrison, who also sang lead on it. He was quoted as saying it seemed like winter in England went on forever and responsibilities with Apple (The Beatles’ recording venture) were getting him down, so one day he took off, went to Eric Clapton’s house, and wandered around in the gardens with one of Clapton’s acoustic guitars and wrote this song.

Earlier this year my cousin Jim posted suggestions on how to wake up early. A few months later, Gretchen did a post on gaining more time in your day. While I’d been mulling Jim’s thoughts for a while (six months!), Gretchen’s was a kick-in-the-seat sort of enabling post that got the ball rolling for me.

During the summer I had gotten into the habit of going to bed really late. This, of course, made it difficult for me to get up on time in the morning. With that kind of start to my day, I was having difficulties just getting stuff done and even feeling like getting stuff done. Every few weeks I’d hard-crash and have to take a day to try and catch up on all the sleep I’d been missing, something “they” always say is impossible to do. Once your sleep is lost, it’s lost, man. Best you can do is try better in the future.

With the new school year fast approaching, I decided a change was in order. So, pretty much just like that, I started getting up at 5:00 a.m. And, just like that, it was a good thing. I had time to eat breakfast, do some reading, catch up on email, forums, blogs, and comics, and still get to work on time, even early many days. I was up before the sun, even when the sun was getting up earlier than normal (stupid DST *grumblemutterfume*).

There were other benefits, too, harder to define. Because I started putting some order into this area of my life, it seemed like other areas of my life started feeling more orderly. I felt better throughout the day, my thinking was more clear, I was organizing all of my time a little better, and I was being a more effective friend. Living on a schedule was helping me live more specifically.

There were a few downsides, of course, the main one being that I would get tired earlier in the evening. To get up at 5, I needed to be in bed somewhere between 9-9:15 p.m. Any later than that and it started getting difficult to get up at 5. Too many days of that in a row and it became almost impossible. The only solution was to go to bed at the right time. This meant forgoing “just one more level” on my latest game or that “one more episode of Seinfeld” while sitting on the couch. Just like anything worthwhile, it meant giving up something in the now for benefits in the future.

I kept at it very well for a few months – like most anything, a habit can be made of it. But, then, somewhere along the way, and for reasons I can’t specifically point out, it fell away. I’d stay up past 10 one night and then feel too sleepy to get out of bed until closer to 6 in the morning. Since I wasn’t resting well, I’d be sleepy during the day, but get a burst of energy in the evening and stay up late again. I’d be out with friends and not want to leave at 8:45 to get home in time to go to bed when I needed to. Little things kept creeping back in, and pretty soon I was back to living haphazardly, along with the malaise and the lack of will to go along with it.

One of my original intentions with getting up early was to eventually start exercising in the morning. I never got to that point, and I’m certainly not at that point these days with my late rising. Winter seems to make early rising more difficult – even those of us who aren’t “outdoors people” feel the difference that less sunlight in a day makes.

I know what I need to do, and I know it can be done – after all, I’ve done it before. I’m a firm believer that a person can change from being a “night person” to a “morning person” because I’ve done it a few times in my life. It takes effort, though, and that’s usually what stops a person – it’s what stops me from doing most of the things in my life that I ought to be doing.

I think it’s high time I get back to it. Regardless of the snowfall we had last night, I feel the ice is slowly melting. It feels like years since it’s been clear.

It’s all right. Or at least it will be.

8 Comments on “Here Comes The Sun”

  1. the obscure says:

    Stick around now, it may show. I don't know. I DON'T KNOW!

  2. Gretchen says:


    You are right on! You can always try again. . . and I bet it will keep getting better.

    So glad to hear it!

  3. Smoothie King says:

    Super post Mark, I'll have to try and join you. Most of the wise and sucessful people I know are EtB+EtR's.

  4. Mel Eik says:

    Dude, with my new job I started getting up early – 5:30 and I love it! For all the reasons you mentioned: more time, actually eating breakfast at my house, spendin time in the Word and somehow being more structered all day. This week has been a challenge, however. Thank you for letting my know that i am not alone. You can do it! :)

  5. markus says:

    I wish I was a 5:00 am sort of person. Question: how do you negotiate the tension of wanting to spend time with others (which for most people, happens in the evenings) and disciplining yourself to getting home/to bed early so you can rise at 5? It seems like either way, something gets missed out on… I'm curious.

  6. MadMup says:

    That's probably the most difficult part about the process. I would suggest a couple of things:

    1) Get them to start getting up earlier, too. Twofold benefits: you can meet for breakfast, and they're more understanding of the earlier evening goodbyes.

    2) Meet earlier in the evening – 6 instead of 7, etc.

    3) Schedule time with others. If you're going to schedule a wake-up time and schedule work time and study time, it only makes sense to schedule "others time."

    On top of all that, though, there should be some flexibility, too, of course. Occasionally stretching your bedtime to allow for personal interaction makes good sense.

  7. Gretchen says:

    Mark, great tips on spending time with others. Fantastic advice. You are such a seasoned veteren.

  8. Mel Eik says:

    Did you get that out of a book? If not, maybe you should write one :)

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