Early to Bed; Early to Rise

I’m asleep in the recliner when my husband rouses me with a gentle,” Hey, babe, don’t you think you better go to bed?” Despite the obvious—I am after all, sound asleep—it’s only 7:30 p.m. and for most of my fellow Oregonians, bedtime is hours away.

“Man, someday soon I’m going to get through an entire PBS NewsHour,” I mumble as I rise and stumble to the bedroom.

“Probably not while you’re living on East Coast time,” he murmurs, and he’s right. Since I’ve started teaching in New Jersey, I am newly familiar with “shift work,” my stint beginning at 5:15 a.m. PST ( well, PDT until November 1st) and ending at 9:50 (gotta love school schedules)—unless I have to assist kids from 11:00-12:00 pm. Is this making you dizzy?

When my former principal called me about the job, she admitted, “We wouldn’t have considered it—except you’ve always been such an early riser!” My co-teacher and still-close-friend in NJ chuckled when we were discussing the offer in a later call. “You were crazy about all that grading, and reading. You can’t still be getting up at 4 a.m.?” Truthfully, 5 a.m. is my normal, no-alarm-necessary wake-up, and when I’m awake, I’m UP! So this new job hasn’t demanded that much of an adjustment for me. Except…

I had forgotten about those back-to-school nerves, that pit-of-my-stomach ache about the uncertainty of a day in front of my students. Sleeplessness is part of that, has always been, so rather than stress, and toss and turn, I get out of bed at 3 am and get to work, knowing that this will get, not easier, but more familiar.

Seth Godin published this great post on September 20th about how when we say, “I’d better get to work,” we equate that with the drudgery of routine, of “the measurable grind.” He suggests that our framing has significant power. “Maybe we’d be better off saying,” ‘I need to get back to making magic.'” I love that because that’s how I feel about my work, that “dancing with possibility” I embrace even with sleep in my eyes.

Let this year be one of magic-making for us all!