a morning routine: or an extra fifteen minutes

Morning people, please count your blessings, and trust that you don’t understand the eternal torment of a night owl in an early bird’s world. With all due respect, this one isn’t for you.

A month ago, after a bout of extreme jet lag, I spent about a week waking before the sun. As a night owl, this doesn’t happen often. (Full disclosure: this doesn’t happen, ever.)

I finally got to live as the morning people do. I woke up on my own, got out of bed because I wanted to, made myself some coffee, enjoyed the quietI wrote a few pages in my journal, took my time putting on makeup. One morning, I even had time to play some Stardew Valley! Oh my God, it was amazing. Instead of a hellscape of meetings and caffeine jitters, my morning at work was well-paced and unrushed. (And dare I say: productive?!)

While my sleep schedule has since shifted back to its normal rhythm, I had two lightbulb moments:

https://www.myschaoreo.com/
photo by Myscha Oréo

First: Find something better than going back to sleep. (I know.)  I think what separates the snoozers from the early birds is that for some of us, when we wake up, there is nothing in this world we would rather do than continue sleeping.  I perform mental gymnastics to keep myself in bed for as long as humanly possible.

But with a really compelling reason not to go back to sleep, I find myself snoozing ever so slightly less. For me, that is 15 minutes with really good cup of coffee. I’ve found my perfect combo — Trader Joe’s breakfast blend and a slightly sweet coconut creamer. That, and that alone, pulls me out of my cocoon in the mornings.

 

Second: Think of the minutes you spend out of bed as bonus time. Extra, on top of the 24 hours you already get! What would you do with 15 extra minutes? What about 30? Once up I’m with a cup of coffee in my system, I get an extra treat: a few more minutes to finish up last night’s dinner dishes, wipe down the bathtub, read a chapter of my book, or spend some quality time bonding with kitty. An opportunity to cross one item off my to-do list before the day even starts.

Maybe one day I’ll be one of those people who gets up and works for a few hours before the rest of the world wakes up, but I come from a long line of late sleepers. If genetics are any indicator, things don’t look great for me. In the meantime, I am living vicariously by reading about other’s morning routines, and enjoying my extra 15 minutes.

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big leo mood

 

I had a lot of fun compiling these images! Leo season, for me, represents the pleasure center of summer. Late nights grooving in a Brooklyn basement, body glitter and birthday cake, fluorescent popsicles, caffeine and cocktails flavored with pineapple, strawberry, lime, coconut. Leo season is the time to dance on a table, give someone a piece of your mind and wear your hair like the crown it is, honey. This summertime glow (anyone else feel their best when they’re a little freckled, bronzed and dewy?) and sundress season has me feeling a little vain, but Leos like Madonna, J.Lo, Coco Chanel and Kylie Jenner would all tell you: it ain’t a crime to feel yourself.

Leaning into Gemini

Learning about astrology has given me the tools to be more present where I am, when I am. Instead of counting off the days until the next big event I’m waiting for, I’ve come to appreciate the things that each month and season of the year brings to the table. Gemini gets a bad rap, but this time of year is way too exciting to hole up at home and wait for it to blow over! Here’s how I’m leaning into to Gemini Season:

  1. Hitting the dance floor. Summer’s start is for long, sweaty nights on the dance floor. Wielding a Corona overhead like a high-viz baton on an airport runway and jumping around to the hits of the 90s, 2000s and today is well within my wheelhouse, but this month I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone by taking a salsa class. I can’t think of a better way to channel the frenetic, restless energy of June than challenging my body to move in a few new ways. I’m also looking forward to letting a few sparks fly with my partner — what better time to partner up than Gemini season?!
  2. Playing tourist close to home. A lot of people take Memorial Day weekend as a cue to fly the coop, but with a July and August packed full of travel, I’m savoring the time at home while I can. Still, I’m scratching the travel itch by making a point to visit a new-to-me spot in my city every weekend. That new Italian place I keep hearing about, the jazz bar downtown that my Uber driver raved about, the ice cream place I walk by every day on the way to work, that museum exhibit that I really have no excuse for not having visited by now…
  3. Picking up a new nonfiction book. We’ve moved into an air sign now, which means heady pursuits rule. Geminis are particularly inquisitive: part of the reason they are renowned gossipers! I love the tea as much as the next person, but I’m channeling some of that energy into learning a bit more about a topic that interests me. Currently on my bedside table: Talking Back, Talking Black by John McWhorter and Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell.
  4. Finding new life in old wheels. Gemini is ruled by Mercury, bringing to mind a messenger flying high on those winged heels. I’ve been a little more sedentary than I’d like lately, so I’m taking my rusty old bike to the shop and forcing myself to be more mobile this month! Even walking to work or to the shops makes a difference in my day. I feel more part of the community I live in, and it can be a centering exercise – a great time to think through problems and get inspired.
  5. Travel reading and writing. Mercury rules communication and travel, so this month I’ll try to flex my creative muscles by getting inspired by travel! I could spend all day organizing trips I’ll never take (am I the only one?!),  so I plan on having some fun planning a few upcoming trips I have on the docket this summer. It’s a more productive way to kill time than Netflix. #QueenofTripAdvisor