Published: Tuesday October 27, 2015.


My 630am alarm sounded. I turned it off after three beeps. The next thing I heard was rain thrashing down on the roof tiles. No wind, thankfully, but a lot of rain. It’s October, so hardly surprising that it’s raining in Cornwall, UK. I went back to sleep. I woke after about an hour, and although it was still raining it had slowed a bit. I felt a bit bad about not getting out for a walk, but only for the 30 seconds it took my fall back asleep. At 8am I woke naturally, went downstairs to get my phone, and got back into bed. At 845am I was feeling wretched enough to get out of bed proper and not get back in until bedtime. I got ready for my walk with wet weather gear, and left the house at about 855am. An hour later, nearly 4 miles of rainy walking later, I was back. Runkeeper told me it was my third-best 3-5 mile walk time-wise, which is scraping the barrel a bit since I’ve only done this route four times.

At the start of 2015, I stopped taking my phone upstairs when I went to bed. With the exception of essential pre-6am alarm calls, I’ve been really good at leaving it at my desk. I don’t check my email before bedtime. I don’t check any social stuff before I sleep. There’s no need. It’s not like it won’t be there in the morning. Besides, I don’t want to be stimulated by all this stuff. It’s time for sleep. And I love sleep.

It’s a bit baffling to me that I deem it acceptable to check my email and frequent flyer websites in bed in the morning. I’m awake, and perhaps my brain isn’t fully firing for the first few minutes of the day, so this is sort of sleepwalking. It’s not until I’ve been scrolling through various things that I realise I’ve lost half an hour. Sometimes it’s more. I recall reading a quote about getting up in the morning — and I’m liberally paraphrasing:

When you wake up, get out of bed — unless you have company.

Bluntly, ‘get out of bed’ doesn’t translate to ‘get out of bed, collect your phone, get back into bed and tool around for an hour’ in modern parlance. Something else I read online — I can’t recall who it’s attributed to, but it’s on a list that gets forwarded widely now and again, and I think the person was a musician or performer — is this:

Get up and fight.

And there was a US President who had a list of daily things that he did, which I recall reading.

I spend a lot of my time on the internet, before during and after work. The blurry time in the morning is when I do a lot of non-work stuff, and it’s the time I’m at my least responsive. I saw the quote about getting up in the morning when I should have been getting up. Same goes for the thing about fighting. Both morning things. Both hazy memories. Both have unclear attribution.

Neither are things I currently do, and this situation ends today. When I next wake up, I get out of bed and I fight. Whether it’s a habit, an urge, a system or a person, I will fight. That’s not to say I’ll fight every damned thing in my day, that’d be exhausting, but a fighting spirit is what’s needed. No phones in bed. No extended wake up time. I can wake up when I’m going for my morning walk. If it’s raining, I get wet. If it’s dark, I take a light. If I’m tired and uppity, then at least I’m taking my frustrations out on the local livestock and not my housemate, who frankly doesn’t deserve it.

Yesterday I took the first step in thinking what my day would be like without staring at a screen. Today, I’ve started to take control of my mornings.

And so what if it was my third-best 3-5 mile walk.

I still did a 3-5 mile walk.