Corgi by Emily Wang

In the Disney movies of my youth, there was always a glorious “early morning sequence.” As the cartoon sun began to rise, some unbearably cheerful bluebird or woodland creature — or heck, the entire animal kingdom — would emerge from their slumber to greet the day. They were charming. They were productive. They were more convincing than any ad I’ve seen, before or since…

I have long believed that mornings harbor some kind of magic.

But you know what else is magical? Sleeping. See also: blankets. Blankets are great. In fact, they are so nice that on most mornings, I elect to remain in their company for as long as possible. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better at mornings — I show up! On time! With clean hair! — but I would hardly call myself an early bird.

Last summer, while completing a yoga teacher training that commenced in the early hours, I learned to semi-embrace waking up in darkness. Meanwhile, our teacher (who spent most of his life living in the Himalayas with hardcore yogis) would regale us with stories of his personal routines, including waking at 4 a.m. (or earlier!) to meditate, practice sun salutations, read enriching books and prepare for the day ahead. For him, morning is a deeply spiritual time. He was the picture of vibrance, and I’ve never felt more inspired.

My friend B., a novelist, wakes up at 5 a.m. to write before heading to her day job. “My mind feels more clear and creative early in the morning,” she explains. “And it really helps that no one else is awake to distract me.”

When I get home in the evening, I have every intention to be a productive human. I want to work out, organize the closet, do some writing, answer personal emails… the list goes on. But typically, I’m too zonked from the day to do much more than read, watch TV or just pass out.

Lately, I’ve started to wonder: What would I do with additional hours on the early side? Meditate? Run? Eat a proper breakfast? CONQUER THE WORLD? There is only one way to find out.

So, this month, I’m challenging myself to be an early bird, and to love every minute of it. (Or at least, to try.) My plan is to rise with the sun each day, like an alarmingly chipper cartoon bluebird. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Who wants to try this along with me? (Please?) Are you already an early riser? (If you have any tips, by all means, please share!)

P.S. More fun challenges and what happens when an introvert talks to strangers.

(Photo by Emily Wang.)