Up with the Morning Sun

Tri and I come from families of early risers. Both of our dads get up by 5 or 6 and have usually done a ton of things by the time Tri or I groggily saunter out of our rooms. My mom’s side of the family isn’t that different. Whenever I’m at a family gathering, if I get up by 7:30, the house is already bustling with activity. People have eaten, are dressed, and are ready to go out for the day.

I used to be an early riser too.

For most of middle school and high school I had to be up by at least 6:30 to get ready for school, but in high school, it wasn’t uncommon for me to be up by 5 or 5:30am. I loved the quiet and peace of the morning, and it was an ideal time to do homework. Then college hit. In the beginning I thought that I’d keep it up. When I told a professor about my plans, she laughed at me! (in a kind-hearted way), and I soon realized she was right. Late nights took precedence over early mornings, and I could no longer hope to be up by 5:30am.

When I studied abroad, I was able to get back into the habit of getting up early and remembered how much I love it. Getting up early has always been easier for me in Nepal because it’s so bright in the mornings there. There’s also somewhat of a morning culture, especially in rural areas, that makes getting up a bit easier. I miss waking up to a rooster’s crow or the sound of people calling to each other across the courtyard. If you’re really tired in the mornings, the rooster crow does get old, but for the most part, it’s not a bad way to wake up. And after you do, you get to look forward to a steaming cup of Nepali chiya (tea) and biscuits.

In high school I was waking up at 5 O’clock with the help of an alarm, but while living in a Nepali village, I was up on my own by 5:30am. While trekking, as well, I remember waking up early on my own. One morning while camping, I woke up right before the sunrise. After I got up, I walked down to the bank of the thunderous river we had slept next to the night before and sat down to write in my journal and enjoy this beautiful, rocky spot.

I’ve thought about getting up that early again and wondered if I could hack it without an alarm clock, but I’m worried it wouldn’t happen in the US. In the village, I was going to bed by 7pm. We did have electricity at night, but I had nothing to do. My host family was in bed by that time, so I had no one to talk to, and there were no computers, phones, or internet either. I did have some reading material, but there were only so many times I could read the one book I had brought or go over my class notes from the day, so 7pm became my default bedtime.

In the US, going to bed at 7pm would be crazy and impossible for me, so getting up on my own at 5:30am is not very likely to happen. However, I am trying to get up earlier with the help of an alarm clock.

Tri left early Tuesday morning for a business trip and was away until Wednesday, so I was on my own Tuesday night. He’s not very enthusiastic about getting up early, so I decided to get up with the morning sun on the day he was away. I have to get up at 6:30 anyway to get ready for work in the morning, but I realized it’s been way too long since I’ve seen the sunrise, so I set my alarm for 6. You can see the view from our apartment is not a very good one! But at least I got to see a bit of the morning sun as it peaked above the buildings 🙂

Any other early risers or trying-to-be early risers out there? What are you tips for getting yourself to wake up early?