(Okay, okay–middle of the month. Happy middle of the month!)
I’m just getting deep into my second week of cooking for my friend Diego’s film. I’m not on set, but twice a day, someone comes and picks up meals that I’ve carefully packed and labeled: gluten-free, contains dairy, not vegetarian, put this sauce on this chicken! I’ve cooked for friends’ films before, and I really love it. It feels like I’m cooking for a big family. But over the course of the last week, something surprised me.
I’m not a morning person. I’d sleep ten hours if I could. Every day, I get up 6:22, the latest possible time that I can drag myself out of bed and still get everyone off to school in an orderly fashion. Joey hands me coffee, draws me into his chest with an “it will be okay, honey”, and knows not to ask me any questions about anything until the coffee cup is empty. So when I found out I needed to have both breakfast and lunch for 10 people ready at 5:45 a.m., I agreed very reluctantly.
The first day, I popped out of bed at 4:15. I made muffins. I warmed up the soup and transferred it to thermoses. I set out a tray of sandwich fixings, cut up the bread, and tucked the just-cooled chocolate chip cookies into a bag. Those meals went out into the world, just as Joey and the girls were waking up. Then I packed lunch boxes, fed the girls muffins, and sent them out into the world, too. I sat for a few minutes. And although I was prepared to fight the urge to climb back into to bed, what I really wanted to do was exercise. This is not like me. It was too cold to walk outside, so I went down to the basement, turned on my mother’s clunky treadmill, and walked- for an hour.
The rest of the day continued on, and I just felt different. I had more cooking to do for the movie, but there was no drag in my step. I got things done. I wrote. I felt great. I drank a lot of water. And at 9:00 that night, I fell into bed, ready to start again the next day. And the next, and the next after that.
I thought I wasn’t a morning person, but I think the truth is that I’m not a 6:22 person. I’ve had times in my life when I baked professionally, and I always loved the quiet dark of the pre-sunrise kitchen. It’s easy to see that I should be getting up earlier, and I’ll try to continue the habit even after this movie shoot is over. But the big surprise has been that one small change can immediately create so many others. Who knew that waking up so early could make me want to exercise or drink more water? I don’t know if it’s because I’m waking up at a different time in my sleep cycle, I just have a few more hours in the day, or I just need to begin my day with baking, but whatever it is, it’s been a good week.
I’ve been wanting to tell you about this book, and my week of surprising new habits has made me bring it to the top of the stack on my desk. You might know Winnie from her blog? I’ve always appreciated her take on nutrition and food, and I’m happy to have her calm, balanced and encouraging words in a book I can pick up and read and give to friends. I’ve never been one for self-help or diet books, as I tend to find that we’re all just too different for any one path to be the right one for everyone. And I think that too often, any promise of massive transformation/ weight loss/ eternal happiness / (fill in the blank) can be overwhelming and disempowering. One Simple Change is constructed around gentle, accomplishable shifts. Get a little sunshine. Cook more. Drink water first thing. It’s not dogmatic at all; Winnie offers helpful advice, but it feels like she’s in the trenches with the rest of us. And I think the core of it really is that no small change happens a vacuum. It always leads to others.
I was hoping that we could talk about habit and change today. Have you ever experienced something similar to my strange morning transformation? A funny habit that sets the tone for the rest of the day? Or is there a habit you wish you could bring into your day that you just haven’t been able to stay with? Or if you have Winnie’s book, has it helped you bring new habits in? I’d love to hear how this all works for you.
Oh, and Fire Cider! Thanks so much for all your comments. The winner of the Fire Cider goodies is Margo Burton. Margo- let me know where you are and you’ll be drinking your Fire Cider soon.
You are so lovely. Thank you xoxo
Thank you, Winnie, for your wonderful book.
Sophie Chartier says
I know I should wake up with my husband (between 5:30 and 6am) In theory, I would get so much accomplished before the girls would get up. Things like exercises, drink a warm cup of tea that I haven’t had to nuke half a dozen times, clear out the clutter, get the chores done. Then we’d have all the time in the world to do fun stuff everyday before lunch and naps. Ah! That sounds fabulous…until the alarm goes off in the morning and I just can’t bring myself to do it. (Sigh) One day* I will…one day.
*most likely when my youngest will finally sleep through the night for a bit. Or is it just me justifying not being a morning person?
Sophie, I think that when there are little ones waking you up at night, all bets are off. Eventually (and I’m living proof) they’ll sleep- and then so many things will change! It’s a whole new world.
Sophie Chartier says
She did sleep through the night once in her 18 months of life…last week lol Thanks for the kinds words 🙂 I know eventually I’ll have to pull her out of bed at about the same I’m thinking of lunch, like every teenagers!
Sophie Kirpan says
Is there an address where I could send some snail mail fan mail?
Oh I LOVE snail mail. If you’d be so kind as to send an email through my contact, I can give you my address there. I’m excited already…
Rachel @ 6512 and growing says
I can picture you bustling around a quiet, early morning kitchen, poised to deliver sustenance to the movie crew.
I love being up early, and regularly, naturally find myself up at 5:30 am, at which time I do the most brilliant writing…all in my head. 🙂
I have the in my head issue too, Rachel. I think I might have to get over myself and start dictating to my phone, because once I get to the computer, it’s all flown away! I just can’t bring myself to talk to the phone in the kitchen, though…
..It seemed to me, the (wind) supporting you, was the belief your friend had in You/with this task! I think (when/if) someone, believes in me, (my) soul is lifted, and well, this gives one quite an energetic boost… A mission: gives us quite special power… Your commitment, to provide, (with attention to detail, and love, and care) meant something meaningful to you. I think we want very much, to be here for each other. xo
Michelle B says
I finally accepted that my window of opportunity for exercising was 8:30-9:30 pm. I fought it for a long time, and to be honest, I still don’t like it very much. When it finally rolls around to that time, I longingly look at the couch because isn’t that what I deserve after this tiring day? I sigh instead and put on my running shoes. This acceptance resulted in me running my first marathon this year, which will probably also be my last, but the daily exercise will remain.
Trying anew, here we go!
I’ve never done an early morning change, but I did accidentally stop drinking coffee and carbonated drinks a few years back. I went to a hypnotist for weight loss, and ended up retaining a drink-water-all-day habit that I still have. No, I never lost any weight. But I still counted the visit worthwhile.
(Worked great, hope your issues get resolved soon. It IS mid-retrograde for two planets, with a waning Full Snow Moon, so ya know……)
Thank you, Julie. There goes the moon, wreaking havoc with my tech again. 🙂
The Downtown Homestead says
I linked to your blog and Amazon for your book, because I mentioned your recipe for Homemade Vanilla Extract that I learned from your book. I couldn’t find an appropriate place on you blog to place a trackback. Valentine’s Breakfast with Kiddo http://bit.ly/1kKIRpZ Thanks for your great posts and recipes!
Thank you for including the link! So glad you’re enjoying the book.
I find it interesting that activly changing can seem so problamatic and yet evolution unavoidable.
For some reason sheading old “bad” habits and adopting new “good” habits is something most of us find tiring, difficult and or down right painfull! On the other hand when something truely feels right it just seems to fall into place in our lives as if it has always been a part of us. We all need to listnen to ourselves and do what feels right to us, I find it very surprising somrtimes to see just where that thought can lead!!!: Sometimes it leads to getting up even earlier then 6:22!!! 😉
You are charming. I got a hold of your book quite some time ago. You see my girlfriends and I have been doing what you do now ,well since the 80s sometime. It was sooo wonderful to see someone young start this movement all over again. And like us have a bad economy to deal with. Your way of writing is a joy and somehow makes us really feel like a friend. Thank You! I have 8 sons and have home schooled them all. Being home is a blessing and a great place to create. Being in the country is an even bigger blessing. As I tell my boys(now way to old to be called boys except the 15yr old at home) WELL DONE!!! Now I’m off to make yogurt out of your book. Laura
P.S. For the first time in 30 some odd years my mornings are quiet a I dont HAVE to get up so early. But I do….because now I can enjoy that quiet. It comes faster than one might think 🙁
I decided this year that I needed to make writing part of my daily routine. Halfway through February, I have realised that I can’t actually relax and head for bed unless I have written something: three short stories on the go at the moment, editing a couple of other projects, plus a journal for those days that fiction isn’t my friend. This has led to other changes; I’ve started walking everyday and I also have started drinking more water.
On another note, your book was the start of a lot of new habits so thank you very much for inspiring my boyfriend and myself.
It’s true- I think writing can be such a gateway habit. I’m not sure why- whether it’s just that you’re doing something you want to do, or that you’re more present with your thoughts? But I love how it can do that. (And I’m so glad the book has been good for you- thank you!)