All the greatest minds of the world wake up at 5am or earlier. Hemingway would wake up at 4am and write until at least 8am despite being a known drunk and living in Key West, before centralized air conditioning. Beethoven rose at dawn and counted 60 beans exactly every morning to make his coffee. Then he played, experimented and composed until noon.
Ordinary people do it too. My boyfriend used to wake up at 4:30am every day to go to the fire academy, come home after the sun went down, study for his test(s) the next day and then do it all over again.
When I asked him how he did it, he said it wasn’t that he was trying to do it, but rather that he knew he had to. I think this sense of urgency is shared by many successful people. Hemingway lived to write. Beethoven lived to compose.
Whenever I wake up early, I feel like the greatest person alive. It’s a domino effect. I wake up early, which means I’ll get to the gym, eat well, and sit at my desk to knock out my tasks for the day.
When I don’t, my energy is lower, despite getting more sleep. I feel behind even though I just started my day. I’m mad at myself for not waking up earlier and then my work feels mad at me too.
I’m trying to become a soldier. A soldier to my daily routine, my work, my life.
Sometimes my mom asks me something that I perceive as an obvious answer.
Sometimes my answers aren’t as gentle or patient as they should be. I’m sorry mom. I love you and you don’t deserve that.
Sometimes I get frustrated with myself for not learning or understanding something quickly enough. Then I think mean things to myself in my head and I feel my stomach tighten up. I’m sorry Julianna, you don’t deserve that either.
I’m going to try an experiment this month. I’m going to be more patient with the people I love, strangers and myself. I think if I could just be a little more patient with life, I’d spent a lot less time worrying about unnecessary things.
I’ve spent a lot of time with children. I was a nanny for two years and almost every day for those two years I lived inside the minds of children.
When I first started, it was difficult to adjust. We think that we are older and smarter and know it all. But kids haven’t been corrupted yet. They don’t care what people think.
They’re much better at listening to their little hearts than us and taking care of themselves. I had to learn to let go of control and let the children teach me.
I’m still learning from them. I want to be four-year-old Athena who would wear her cat leggings to school every day because she loved them and didn’t care that everyone knew she had dirty pants on. I want to be seven-year-old Reiss who isn’t embarrassed to ask every adult she knows questions about everything and anything all day long. I want to be five-year-old Taylor who spends an hour on a drawing (which is like a year in kid time), shows it off to everyone she loves, and then takes it outside and dunks it in the pool because who cares, she can make another tomorrow.
It’ll be 6 o’clock and then I’ll look over at the time and gasp. I’m still in my pajamas, my hair is a mess and I’ve hardly eaten.
I used to meditate for an hour to 3 hours a day. I would wake up at 6am, meditate, do yoga, eat, work, eat, meditate and go to bed. Those were simpler times. Every item of the day had a place and everything I needed was right where I was. If you’ve ever been on the fence about joining a commune or retreat center, I highly recommend it.
Now I have a bad habit of getting lost in my work. I start a project and the tunnel vision kicks in. Nothing around me matters, I can hardly feel my skin. I just keep working, working, working until something snaps me out of it and I look like a mad scientist.
Sometimes it upsets the people I love. They haven’t heard from me in a while or I forget to text back. Other times it impacts my health. I get up from my desk and my back is tight or I’m so hungry that I’ll just eat snacks and quick food instead of a good meal.
I want to be a mad scientist who takes more walks, eats better meals, and doesn’t forget to call friends back.
People ask me what I’m up to all the time. They know I decided against college. They know I can’t travel the world forever (or can I?).
I feel relieved these days because now I have a more concrete answer for them. Except I still feeling shy explaining it.
I know what Praxis is, what it’s about, the whole deal. That’s why I’m here. I can sit down with any one of my friends or peers and explain with such passion and gusto that they want to apply. (And it’s true, one of them is going to.)
But when one of my mom’s friends or somebody older and important to me starts asking questions, I feel like a little kid again who wants to hide behind their parents. Why do these people’s opinions matter to me? Why does their intense stare kill my confidence? I know what I’m doing, and I know that I know that! Why does my body language tell another story?