When my alarm (chirping birds) goes off at 5am, I hear Lily Allen’s voice singing “It’s 5 o’clock in the morning…”. You know, from the song she did with T-Pain back in 2011. Find it online if you haven’t heard it before and give it a listen. Then you, too, can have her lovely British accent stuck in your head, repeating the same 6 words on loop, for the rest of your life.
Since January of this
ridiculous shitshow of a year, my morning ritual has involved getting up between 4:30 and 5:00am.
Most people look at me like this when I tell them that:
You can read about how I came to start my days in the middle of the night here.
Basically it all came down to needing ‘me time’ and wanting a bubble butt, and since I like to go to bed before most 8-year-olds, the only way I was going to get a couple uninterrupted hours to myself was if I started my day earlier.
When Covid and all its self-isolation-work-from-home-never-have-a-moment-by-yourself-ever-again nonsense began, I continued to set my alarm for 5am. Most days I still got up. (It’s not like I was going to be able to fall asleep again; what with Lily’s wake-up chorus having started in my head. Any thoughts on how to get her to stop? Hypnosis? CBT? Shock therapy? I’m open to suggestions.)
And most days, those 2 hours at dawn were the only peaceful ones I could count on.
As the Covid-days turned into Covid-months, though, I found it harder and harder to get out of bed so early. My body seemed to make itself heavier when the birds started to chirp, its way of pleading with me to not make it jump around and lift weights and do planks.
I kept trying, but my efforts became half-hearted and sporadic.
I tried using Mel Robbins’ 5-second rule.
I tried a lot of positive self-talk, then a lot of negative self-talk.
Husband tried to literally push me out of bed. (He won’t be doing that ever again.)
Workouts became sporadic. I was seeing 5am maybe 2 days out of 7, tops.
And I was becoming restless in my skin. Restless in my days.
I wasn’t getting my morning fix of peace and quiet. There was no easing into the day on my terms, anymore. Just the rather aggressive poke in my back at 6:45 from my 4-year-old son, when he decided for me that it was time to begin the day because he needed Eggos and orange juice, dammit.
And then I hurt my back. Twice. First by doing a bootcamp-style exercise that I knew better than to attempt at my advanced age.
I won’t tell you how I injured it the second time, two weeks later, because it is humiliating.
(I was sitting on the floor, ok? Just sitting. And I threw my back out. Sitting.)
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of experiencing back pain, then you know all about how debilitating it can be. It can literally stop you in your tracks.
Needless to say, the decision to wake up at 5am and work out was taken out of my hands.
Despite my pain, it was becoming very clear to me that I still desperately needed my morning ritual. My relationships with my children and husband depended on it.
So one morning in early July, I 5-4-3-2-1‘d myself out of my bed when the birds and Lily began their singing.
Because we have hardwood throughout our house that we’re prettttty sure was installed in haste, every floorboard creaks when stepped on. In the silence of 5am, when I ABSOLUTELY.NEED my children to remain asleep, the creaks sound so loud to me that a dance troupe might as well be doing the Irish Jig in wooden clogs right there in my hallway.
I have tried many things to minimize the creaks. The method that has proven most effective involves thick socks that I put on as soon as my alarm goes off. I then begin a careful, semi-crouched glide – think speed skater style- towards the stairs.
It’s all about weight distribution.
In my mind, I am in a Mission Impossible movie.
My mission: to get to the basement undetected.
If I can just make it to the stairs, I should be in the clear.
Once I successfully made it downstairs to the kitchen, I poured myself a coffee and continued with speed skater stealth to the basement. But instead of going into the gym, as I would have done pre-back injury, I went to my mama space and turned on my laptop.
And so began a new morning ritual, one that fits me better for now. Maybe forever.
Here I am, friends, writing. It’s 5 o’clock in the morning…
I’ll still need to figure out where to fit in my workouts once my back pain fully subsides. (A bubble butt doesn’t just happen, you know.)
Who’s with me in the 5am Club?