It’s really dark at 5:30 a.m.
Let’s be honest. Most of 2020 was dark, regardless of the hour. In fact, like many others, the last several months have been the most challenging time of my life so far. From multiple personal battles, to the death of my last remaining grandparent, to testing positive for COVID…
Nothing has particularly gone my way recently.
When the Times Square ball dropped, I knew I couldn’t enter another year doing the same thing. I need to live, rather than let life happen to me. So, in true cliche New Year’s fashion, I chose a word for 2021.
I have spent the last six months growing. Some efforts have been small, like reading more books or not feeling guilty about taking time for a bubble bath. Some have been massive, like attempting to live a sober lifestyle (more on this another time). I’m nowhere near done, nor do I think I ever will be, but I do know that I need to start taking the next step in manifesting the life I want. A life, I have discovered, that I’m already living in many ways – but not even close to its potential.
I need to bloom where I’m planted. I need to get out of my own way, in so many regards.
Be yourself. Be uncomfortable. Be strong.
These three goals, those ideas of self respect and love and challenge and motivation, those are what are driving me each day to live my life “in bloom.” I’m not going to live small anymore. I’m going to do things that make me feel both the good and the bad. I’m going to prioritize on my health – physically and mentally – because when it comes down to it, that’s all any of us have.
Which brings me back to the dark.
I have made a commitment to myself to wake up early at least three times a week to exercise. Let’s talk about that uncomfort for a minute, because setting an alarm before the sun has never been fun for me. I’m sleeping in my exercise clothes to conserve precious minutes of rest. I’m throwing on Crocs, and sprinting outside to the gym in sub-freezing temperatures, and forcing myself to get on the bike when I would rather crawl back into bed. I make myself sweat, even if just a little. I ride hard enough to settle my thoughts. To feel my own heartbeat. No matter what, even when on the first day I went too hard too early and threw up my breakfast…
I feel better.
I shower in the dark, soaking in the warmth and the quiet, trying not to wake my husband. I talk with God there, and allow myself to be honest with me. Have you ever given yourself silent pep talks in the mirror? Because that’s something I do now. Once I get dressed, I move to my office. This new refuge, this place all my own, gives me a sense of calm. Each morning by the glow of my desk lamp and steam from my tea, I write in my journal. How am I feeling today? What am I grateful for? What is stuck in my brain?
This all seems small, when I speak it out loud. It may sound so cheesy to many. But friends, I cannot tell you what this change in habit alone has done for my mental health.
I wake up my kids with a positive attitude and with more patience than ever before. I move more quickly and efficiently – packing lunches, making breakfasts, and picking out clothes. We sing in the car, and go over spelling words while waiting for the school doors to open. I am present with my girls, and I am the mother I want to be.
In the dark I have fould solace. Peace. Sometimes, clarity. I have found MY time, when the day has just begun and the world is still asleep around me.
I never thought I would say this, but I think I might be a morning person.