I am a rare species, often thought to be mythical or extinct. I am elusive. My plumes are not showy, my crest an average sort of brown–but I’m different.
I am an early bird.
I function well in the morning. I get up early without being forced. If I tell my body I should wake up at five the next morning, the latest it will rouse me is about five-fifteen.
If I’ve slept well, I can start the day running–I don’t really need coffee for clarity, though I drink it in vats. Sometimes caffeine makes me sleepy, but I like the way that coffee tastes. If I’ve slept well, I can go from my bed to my computer with only a few minutes to squeegee the fog out of my brain. I like to get up in a quiet house, where everyone else is sleeping. I like to get things done before the children start to chatter, before the TV turns on and the toys start chirping and the cat starts meowling for food.
These things seem idyllic to many. Unattainable. The early bird is often looked up to, as if we know or have something that the rest of the birds don’t. There are so many misconceptions–that we always get up early, that we thrive on less sleep. “You get more done before nine a.m. than I get done all day.” We hear it over and over again, but it isn’t necessarily true.
Check in on the early bird about one-thirty in the afternoon. She might be exhausted. She might be asleep. While the other birds are up and chirping, she’s hiding her little feathered head. By the time night falls, the other birds–even the permanently exhausted pigeons–have probably accomplished just as much as the EB did this morning. She’ll get another burst of energy after her afternoon rest, but it will be nothing like the early burst, and she’ll be ready for bed before nine.
She’s never stayed up to watch a TV show that aired at 10 pm, even in college or high school. She’s never “pulled an all-nighter.” She’s the guest at the dinner party who starts to nod off on her husband’s shoulder while everyone else is still considering dessert. She could never live in Spain.
But the next morning, while the sky is still gray and the world is asleep, she’ll be bright again. A beacon. What so many night owls have been taught to wish they could be.