The early morning has become largely foreign to me, but it was not always this way. I've had several jobs that required me to be up and functional at ungodly hours - one job that I had for several years required me to be on site, ready to lift heavy things at 6:00AM. During another period of my life, I lived just a few blocks from a Zendo and I would attend meditation at 7:00AM each morning. The last few months of student life, however, have turned me back into a bat. I have grown accustomed to calling 9:30AM "early," and going to bed before 1:00AM seems quaint. I had convinced myself that I did my best work after dark, and I would seldom even start to work until everyone else in the house was in bed.

The net result of this has been one of the least productive times I can recall. For the last month, my bedtimes got later and later until I was a true vampire, falling into bed as the sun came up, and waking in the early afternoon. I became sluggish and grumpy, and I never felt like I had slept enough. Worse yet, I was doing very little of my summer reading, not getting much done around the house, working out sporadically, and writing nothing. Depression was setting in.

When I finally faced up to this situation, the solution was obvious. I must get to bed early, and rise at a decent hour. Unfortunately, I was trapped in a vicious cycle - if I don't get enough exercise I don't sleep soundly, and if I don't sleep soundly I have very little desire to exercise. On the day I finally decided to fix my problem, I had gone to bed at about 5:00am, then gotten up at noon to keep an appointment. I decided that instead of going to bed at 5 or 6 the next morning, I would force myself to stay awake until the following evening and then turn in at a more normal bedtime.

I made it to about 4:00PM the next day - about 28 hours of consciousness - when a headache forced me into bed for a nap. I set my alarm for about three hours, then I got up and had a light supper. I went back to bed around 8:30PM and I woke up naturally at 5:30AM.

That day was amazing. It was like I had finally emerged from a lengthy illness. I felt more energetic, I finally made progress on several projects around the house, and I got in a great workout before 8:30AM. This trend has continued for the last few days; I've been in bed at quite reasonable hours each night, and I've woken up without an alarm between 6:00 and 8:00 each morning.

I know what you are wondering - "Is the Black Pope turning into a morning person?" I, too, was concerned with this development; it's hard to maintain your sinful street cred when you are going to bed at 10:00 every night. I finally had to face a difficult truth that I have only glanced at in my darkest hours... the Black Pope may be dead.

Yes children, the Pontifex Niger may have to hang up his cassock. I am no longer the creature of the night I was when this persona was born. Although I still abhor organized (i.e. "stupid") religion as much as ever, I am much more interested in steering folks away from it by pointing out its illogical positions than by personally tempting them into sinful behaviors. In short, it is much more satisfying to create skeptics than degenerates - and less labor-intensive, too.

I suppose that some of the Faithful may find this new, less vitamin D-deprived Linus a bit of a disappointment, but the trend has been there for a while now. More exercise, veganism, no alcohol, no drugs - hell, I've even begun to occasionally enjoy wearing colors other than black(!). If you think about it, the most extreme of my evil personae, Darth Furious, has hardly reared his head at all in the last few years. My rehabilitation from Sith Lord to Grey Knight may be almost complete (you're never really cured, you know? One day at a time, Lord, one day at a time...).


Ducky said...

Maybe dead is not the correct term. Maybe just mellowed out in later years. For all we know, had Darth Vader lived he would have ended up in some home going, "Oy! Kids these days, they're just so much trouble. It's too hard to go force choke every idiot out there, I'd never get my rest!" (All of this is said with a strong Jewish accent)

Raksha said...

I think this "mellowing" of yours should make people more nervous than anything. Now, you may seem normal and harmless, but underneath that crunchy granola facade lies a charismatic and seductive Force for Progressiveness (shut up, that's a perfectly cromulent word). In Wyoming, there are few things most people find more scary than progressives.

Here's one thing to keep in mind, though: It may be more satisfying to make skeptics than degenerates, but it's also less effective. They've done actual studies that show trying to use logic and provable facts on people with ridiculous political and religious beliefs actually make them cling harder to those idiocies! TRUFAX.

Sci Fi Heroine said...

I have to admit, I'm grateful that you're rising earlier. It's always so hard to force myself out of bed when you're still in it. :)

His Sinfulness said...

This getting up early thing has gone to a stupid place now. Last night, I couldn't keep my eyes open at 6:00PM! I laid down and I was out until about 2:00AM. I forced myself to stay in bed and I slept some more - woke about 5:30 this morning.

I blame allergy meds...

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