By the time many people’s alarm clocks go off, signaling the start of their day, I have already provided two lengthy walks to my dogs, made their breakfast, and fed myself a healthy meal. This is not bragging. Nor is it an attempt to state how much better my life is compared to someone else’s. My statement is based in great humility and gratitude.
I’m grateful that I get the time I require to spend with my dogs. To see a sunrise every day. I am humbled by the pristine silence of early morning hours, knowing very few are awake. It’s unusual if I don’t get to witness the awe-inspiring sight of a meteorite scratching it’s trail of brilliant light across a star-filled sky. I enjoy that I’m able to give myself room and time enough to think about things before the crush and rush of humanity awakens and the cacophony of living begins anew each day.
For many years, decades, I conformed to the sleeping habits of my friends and family, going to bed quite late — sometimes after the sun crested the eastern horizon — but never truly enjoyed keeping those hours. I have always been a morning person, but spent much time and wasted energy trying to be nocturnal. After sleeping, my head is clearer, and I’m able to enjoy my surroundings, this life. Awaking early allows me to feel more personally productive. I feel that I’ve already accomplished so much by 7 a.m., having had ample sleep and several hours in which to get things done.
And by things, I mean not only providing care to my amazing dogs, but also readying myself for a full day. I might read a court transcript and make notes, or blog, or meditate, or read, or jot down ideas for a current work-in-progress or future work. Often there will be a candle burning nearby, filling the house with the scent of oranges, lemons, black cherry, or green apples. The dogs, having had their morning exercise will curl up nearby so that I can hear the comforting sound of their gentle snores.
Sometimes I’ll create a new music mix, or read articles and interesting magazine pieces online. I guard my morning time diligently. I try not to allow work or other projects to interfere with the quality time I spend with myself. It has always been this way for me. Sometimes, humanity can be mind and soul numbing. This is my meditation. This is my gratitude in action.
For us introverts, we can interact with the world only because we’ve taken the time to prepare, by spending this time being quiet, or observing, or thinking things through. I’m quite capable of putting on a mask of extroversion, but it drains me. It’s like I’m playing a required role in life in order to survive, but later, when that mask comes off, I’m in need of quietude, solitude, and the time to recharge, regroup, and start again.
This is what an extroverted world so often misunderstands. We don’t necessarily enjoy the chaotic thoughts that seem to plague those who choose to participate in the ways of others. We prefer our own thoughts, clearly heard; emotions, fully felt. We prefer to examine news stories carefully for half-truths and falsehoods, not have the news shoved into our faces through some blaring television program. We enjoy exploring the maze of our own imagination instead of relying on someone else’s for our entertainment.
We don’t hold ourselves in higher esteem. However, we can pose a threat to those who are uncomfortable with how we approach the world around us, for those people distrust silence, introspection, and solitude. And for those persons, we become a project in which they feel we must be converted.