On Being a Morning Person, or Not

“I just open my eyes, remember who I am, what I’m like, and I go, ‘Oh. Aw, I guess. I guess. Do it. I don’t know. I guess.'”
-Louis C.K. on waking up in the morning, Louie (season 1, episode 3, “Dr. Ben/Nick”)

For years I’ve been insisting that it’s not that I’m not a morning person.

But it is that. Exactly that. I am not a morning person.

I am in awe of people who wake up and immediately go perform some higher-level function like working out, some of them without even eating or drinking anything, not even coffee. If I get out of bed and try to immediately take a shower–a relatively simple activity I’ve been doing daily for decades–I get all lost in the middle. I find myself standing there in the spray like I just woke up then, with no idea what’s going on. Did I shampoo? Is it time for soap? I have no clue.

Most mornings, I wake up and spend some time lying in bed wondering if I’m awake. When I’ve decided I’m awake, I try to remember what day it is and what I’m supposed to be doing.

This can take a while.

One thing about being a director is that I kind of have to be really on as soon as I hit the building. I need to be able to deal with whatever’s going on and still smile and say good morning to everyone like everything’s going great. Sometimes problems become clear to me before I even get out of the car, like the day the sidewalk exploded or that day the tree was rolling around in the parking lot.

I think I’ve been coping with this pretty well, although I notice that some staff members will ask me if I’m on my first or second mug of coffee before they ask me questions in the morning. I imagine they’ve caught on that they’re going to get a more coherent answer after the second mug.

And I think I’m okay with that.


  1. Posted October 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I am infamously (in the Danielson household) NOT a morning person. I get teased about this. NOT FAIR.

    I am, however, a night owl and get my best work done then.

    I like waking up slowly and quietly, and that just doesn’t happen with young children. I told the girls this the other day and then paused and added, “but when you’re older and gone and not in the house, I will *miss* that noise, you know.”

    How did I miss the exploding sidewalk and tree rolling around in the parking lot? Also, that Louis C.K. quote is HYSTERICAL.

  2. adrienne
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    That’s so true about the kids, Jules. I felt like I was having a heart attack every morning when I had to get up and get ready lightning-fast for the boys to arrive last year, but now I do miss seeing them every day. Life’s multitudes are not tidy.

    And I can’t even keep track of my life, it’s been so eventful. I keep saying it, but it’s true that I’ve lost some of my capacity to be shocked by things. They happen, and I’m like, Hey, well, look at that. Guess I’m going to have to finish my coffee and deal with it. Case in point: I prepped for the impending hurricane this morning by cleaning out the gutters, taking a shower, putting on clean pjs, and taking a nap. I guess people are clearing out Wegmans, but I just can’t get involved.

    I wish I could find a video clip of Louis performing that bit. It’s better when he says it.

  3. Posted October 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    The storm is going to reach as far as you all? I really gotta read up on this. I’m kinda scared to read about it.

  4. adrienne
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    It will impact us, but not like the coast. We’ll get some wind and rain, perhaps severe wind and rain, but that is not so unusual for us this time of year, living below one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world, as we do. We’ll be safe.

  5. Posted October 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I can get up! I can shower quickly! And then…
    And then I sit down and stare into space for the longest time. Tech Boy can be dressed and downstairs and I am … just … still… sitting. It was better when I was swimming in the morning – I could have walked two blocks, stripped down, and be in the water before I was awake, but HECK, cold water makes you AWAKE.

    Now that Tech Boy leaves the house in order to be to work by 7, I can sit and stare with a keyboard. This, so far, is not substantially better…

  6. adrienne
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    If I lay everything out the night before, I do have it in me to get up, get immediately dressed, and go for a walk around the block, which is a not-bad way to start the day. I was doing that for a while, but then things got all crazy here again. Maybe I’ll find such a habit again After I Move.

    7:00 is just so early to be to work. I could do that day after day, but I would dislike it intensely.

  7. annette
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    having to be at school at 7:30 every morning for the last 15 years has sort of ruined me for having any good time of day–i’m not a morning person, but i’m forced to be up and going in the morning, so that steals from my my desire to be a night person because i’m trying to get ready for the next painfully early morning.
    i think i’m developing a crepuscular habit–i’m more active around twilight–preferably after a little afternoon nap.

  8. Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m a morning person and an evening person. Drives some people crazy, I’m sure.

    I would like to be able to fall asleep more easily than I do.

  9. Posted October 30, 2012 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    I have been thinking about all my friends and family along the East Coast, and hoping that they will be okay. So, please be okay. I missed the exploding sidewalk and rolling tree, too! And all along, I was squeamish about the idea of becoming a branch director because I’d have to (ulp) deal with toilets.

    About not being a morning person… I’ve tried so hard. Really, I have. There are things I used to do to which I just refuse to subject myself and anyone else. No hair-preparation at 5:30 am. No running in the dark.

    I think I’m a little bit clever for having a full 32 oz water bottle by my bed, though. When the alarm rings, I reach for the bottle and begin the hydration process. It may take me 30 minutes to get out of bed, but I’m prepping for the day! That’s almost like work, see.

  10. adrienne
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Annette, I admire you plugging away against your body’s preferences. This morning I had to get up and get to work extra-early to make sure we could open, and I felt so frail out and about before 7:00.

    Little Willow, It takes all types to keep the world running. :)

    Farida, We are aok here. And I love that hydration trick.

  11. Posted October 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Glad you guys are OK. :) And I TOTALLY HEAR YOU on not being a morning person. I am so not. I need to sit quietly and read, eat a little something, and drink 2 cups of coffee before I can truly call myself functional. I really wish I were one of those wake-up-immediately people…Rob used to tease me when I had to set my alarm at 6-ish for an early commute because the second it went off I’d go “NOOOoooooo!!!!”

  12. adrienne
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Sarah, Getting up before 7:00am seems unreasonable. I think my best friend is up before 6:00am on weekdays, and I don’t even know how she handles that. Getting up that early ruins my whole day.

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