I’m not a morning person. Secretly, I think work days shouldn’t start earlier than 9:30 am. When I got the offer for my latest job contract, I vehemently put in that I wouldn’t start earlier than seven o’clock (giving me a six o’clock alarm) (which is still too early). So how did I end up with work days that start at 5:15 am?
My usual job at the mail is telling other people what to do, sorting mail, and making sure it leaves with the right transport. People with that job start between six and seven and are usually done between eleven and noon. So okay you have to go to bed at ten (at least I do, because I need at least seven hours to function), but you come home, sleep a bit and have the entire day for yourself. A human being can get used to anything.
When I was offered a function that came with more responsibility, versatility and more hours, I immediately jumped on it. My parents, especially my father, who isn’t a morning person either, wondered how the heck I’d be able to wake up at 4:30 in the morning.
Turns out I’m really good at it. It’s the underlying biological alarm that usually makes you wake four times a night with that feeling of, “Oh shit I slept through my alarm.” Only I really get out of bed when that happens. It’s the early night (“There are things happening on the Internet!”/”This book is amazing!”/”Why can’t I function on fewer hours?”) that is the challenge.
When you’re up this early, the world looks and feels different. Streets are empty and silent, traffic lights are off, and you’re pretty much all by yourself. To me it feels both like the beginning and the ending of the world; the promise of traffic, noise, movement, and people are both comforting and scary.
But the most fun part about being up this early (besides zigzagging the road on your bike) are the animals. Last Tuesday, I saw a pair of foxes trotting along the cycle path with not a care in the world. The pigeons underneath the fly-over are still asleep, while bats are creating tiny storms around its lights. And when I pass the sparrow-hawk at the end of the cycle path, I feel like I’m departing some kind of limbo where it could well be a god in bird shape.
It takes getting used to, early hours, especially in winter. When I come home at two, I collapse for an hour and my evening plans (goodbye Friday nights) are pretty much non-existent. But right now this is a job with the fulfillment I need, and I still have weekend nights to argue on the Internet. It just takes some adjustment of your ideas about what working days should look like.