Saturday, September 22, 2012

Early Birds and Catching Worms

When I opened up the mailbox today I found a letter addressed to me, from me.  Self-addressed stamped envelopes always throw me for a bit of a snail-mail loop. There's some metaphysical thing going that I'm not philosophically astute enough to analyze, but basically, it's déjà vu in a business-sized security envelope. 

I wrote the letter the morning of the last day at writer's camp, sealed it up and handed it off to a woman named Pat, who promised to mail everyone's letter out at some undisclosed point in the future. This was one of those self-check-in letters to follow-up on a week dedicated to talking about writing, thinking about writing, listening to other people's writing and even actually doing some writing, too. Toward the end of this Dear Jen letter, my back-then self asked my future-self if I was being true to the small list of personal goals I'd established to help hone my writing craft. When I read the list today, I wanted to kick my back-then self in the arse. What was I thinking? Really? That goal? Again? I shook my head and thought, "Don't I know myself better than that? Maybe I'll just never learn." 

I wish I had a tally of all the times I've said or written in a journal: "Tomorrow I vow to get up an hour earlier than normal and  ________."  At various times in my life the blank has been filled with: do yoga, meditate, go for a walk, write personal morning pages, go for a run, write fiction, revise fiction. 

Not once have I been successful at this self-improvement goal. Yes, I love worms. In 5th grade I sported stickers in the upper right corner of my desk that spelled out, "I (heart) Worms". But getting up like the proverbial early bird to catch them is just not in my constitution. Or so I tell myself. What if I could do it though? For some reason I can't seem to shake the idea that there must be magic present in the early morning hours and if only I could get my ass out of bed I might harness some of that magic for myself. It feels like a character flaw that I can't overcome the desire to push the day's beginning off as long as possible. It seems like if I could just change my night-owl into an early-bird, something would be better. But I don't really know what exactly. 

I never stop wondering what it would be like to become a morning person, to add one more hour to my day, a quiet hour. Maybe there would be magic in that daybreak hour, maybe I would come to love it, to rise from bed not with dragging feet but with an eagerness for my day to start. For many things in life I believe that we can change our behaviors with practice and persistence. I should be able to will myself into a morning person, set the clock earlier, get up out of bed and carry on. Repeat until it's a habit.  And so, here it is on my list again. Maybe this time...this time....this time...

Stay tuned....

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