Step one: Wake up at 5:30am of your own accord, and go for a run/walk. This is the hardest step. And the hardest part is not actually waking up at 5:30 or starting to move around at a time when all reasonable people are still asleep, it’s accepting that you’re doing so because you want to, and not because of work, natural disaster, or travel-related demands.
After asking yourself, “Do I really want to do this?” with the gravity most people would apply only to life-changing events, you slip outside. Your dog is with you, because he insisted on going with you since clearly it’s not safe to be up at this hour. Suddenly – without warning – the world will just open to you both. The sun is barely coming up; there’s a cool breeze (in summer!) and a whole strange world of people you have never seen before walking, running, exercising. The light is exactly like what it is when the sun is going down, only the shadows are in reverse. There’s dew on everything. It’s gorgeous.
You are filled with a sense of honest-to-god romantic love for the world. And then you come home.
Step two: Go back to sleep. Come in and note your spouse sleeping peacefully. Linger at the side of the bed, taking off your shoes, and notice how soft and welcoming the mattress feels. Note that the sun is just starting to shine in through the blinds, and if you were to just put your head down on your pillow – just for a second – you could have the lovely feeling of the sun on your face. Do it. Then, fall asleep for three hours.
Step three: Wake up, and start your day. Work on your various projects. Run some errands. Walk the dog, again. Do what it is you need to do.
Step four: Fall asleep again. At this point, you’re looking at moving on to Nap #2 and it’s barely noon, and you’ve officially done away with any of the good-character-points that waking up at 5:30 to exercise has given you. Any sort of gain you might have gotten is now totally wasted, but it’s ok because you sleep like you’ve been drugged.
This is where I am now. It’s only 2:30pm, and it feels like I started my day sometime back in 1982. It’s not that I’ve been terribly productive or that I even feel that well-rested. It’s just that the day seems 20+ years longer than usual. Not in an unpleasant way, but in a confusing one.