At least once or twice each week, I try to get to work around 7am. Since I live 50 miles away from the office, this means leaving the house at 6am. It's preferable to starting my commute later when rush hour traffic could easily double the drive time.
Spiderman came running to me, a full snuggle attack which almost knocked me off my Bandalinos. When it was really time for me to go, he tried to block the front door. He finally let me exit after an extra tickle. And I'm sure, the realization that he was being left semi-unsupervised with a full sheet of Halloween stickers from Grandma. (When I got home I was relieved that Spidey had found a stray piece of copy paper. No little pumpkins and ghosts all over my windows this time.)
As I was pulling out of the dark driveway, I suddenly got this vivid childhood memory of my Dad leaving for work in the pre-dawn hours, even on Saturdays.
I remember telling my playmates, "My Daddy gets up for work at FOUR O'CLOCK in the morning."
It might not have actually been that early but my youthful mind just knew it was dark and early. So, it became 4am in my mind.
Yup, I was bragging. Somewhere along the line I came to understand that a strong work ethic was to be admired. My Dad has just about the best work ethic of anyone I have ever known and not just because he starts his day early. In boasting to my friends, I guess I thought being his daughter made me cool by proxy.
Now that I'm writing this, it makes me wonder about which came first. Did I think my Dad was great because he worked so hard? Or, did I think a strong work ethic was such a great characteristic because my Dad (my hero) had it?
In any case, I think it's pride I feel when I'm already halfway to work just as the sun is rising. Now I know pride is a sin or whatever. I get a "pass" since it is really energized by that "Dad memory" which has been hiding in my subconscious. My morning fuel.
In most discussions of life balance, the primary complaint is "no time." Well, waking up earlier is one of the easiest ways to increase the time budget.
Furthermore, there is a proven connection between waking up early and both personal and professional success.
You can blame Ben Franklin with his whole, "early to rise... healthy, wealthy, wise" bit (though I'm pretty sure he got it from Aristotle).
What's your morning fuel? What feeling, memory or motivation can you tap into in order to make an earlier start time more enjoyable?
For those of you whom I lost at "wake up earlier", here are two more posts I wrote about my Dad which you may enjoy instead...
Ten Things I Learned From My Dad
The Consistent Parent