Some people are night owls - I'm not. I just love early mornings. Anywhere from 4am onwards I like nothing better than to have some quiet time to think, pray, write or research.
It wasn't always like this, through my teens into my early 30's, I used to think staying up as late as possible was cool, hip and trendy. Drinking strong coffee and still trying to get to work on time in the morning, even though I might have only gone to bed at 3am.
As life progressed, so habit changed and by 32-33 yrs old, my routine changed dramatically. At that stage in life I was doing a dozen or so long haul ministry trips a year. Regularly to Uganda, South Africa, America, South America etc. My body clock was a mess for a few years back then. I drank so much caffeine I think it re-wired my brain.
As the travel slowed down, I noticed I was quite happy to go to bed around mid-night and then the revelation of the quiet morning began to emerge. It was an awesome time to pray and get ready for the day. By the time I was 35 this routine was a way of life - then the biggest change - I stopped drinking caffeine all together. It took around six weeks before I felt the benefits and to be honest the withdrawal headaches were brutal. I stuck to my guns though, and only had a cup here or there, avoiding Tea & Coffee as part of normal life. There have been times since when I gone back on it for a while, but I just don't like how it makes me feel anymore.
That made for much better sleep, feeling more refreshed and provided much more energy in the day.
As the years have ticked by, little by little I've been getting up earlier. About 10 years ago I also decided not to set any alarms for the morning and wake naturally. I was tending to go to bed between 9pm and 11pm, and thought, I wonder what time I would wake up without an alarm. Interestingly the same time. I guess my body clock was now doing the job itself, and I've found I hardly ever sleep past 5am.
The usual morning routine is to avoid television programmes. I read a little, pray a bit, write a bit, research and if I haven't got a plan for the day, that's when I make my priority list. This morning being up at 4am, gave me about two and a half hours before Reuben and Rebekah are awake.
As summer approaches the routine will change. I'll be heading off to Aberavon (Picture Below) which is about 15 minutes away, to have a walk on the beach and exercise for an hour before the day starts. I particularly like being there to watch the sunrise over the Gower Peninsula.
I guess for me, I'm gearing up for my 50's and plan for it to be the best it can, from a health and well being point of view. I want to be productive late in life and the things I'm doing now will enable that as much as possible.
What about you ? Are there things you could do to give you some personal space, to breathe, to consider, to reflect. to pray ? If you had to change two or three things in order to see a benefit - what would they be ?