It was dark when I woke up this morning. It’s always dark when I wake up. Lately, though, it’s been cold, too. I wear long fleece pants and a big, fluffy robe. I put on my warm slippers and check if I can see my breath as I slowly exhale.
I turn the heater on just enough to take the bite away from the cold. I start boiling water for my steel cut oats and prepare some coffee, mostly decaffeinated, but a little regular coffee, too. Once the coffee is brewing, I drink 2 glasses of water. This all happens before I’m really even conscious.
I eventually realize that a new day has started and I walk over to turn on the morning news. I don’t like it when it’s too quiet in my apartment. I like being alone in the morning but I don’t like feeling alone. The soft voices of the morning news anchors help me find that strange balance.
I’m always most uncertain, most afraid in the mornings. I stare out of the window at the horizon – completely taking for granted the impossibly beautiful colors of the sky in those precious moments before the sun finds its way above the mountains in the distance. I ignore the beauty of it, lost in thoughts about the day before.
Yesterday’s profound moments don’t usually reveal themselves until my lonely mornings. I give myself this time. I allow myself to stare blankly at the majestic oranges and purples of the horizon while I try to make sense of whatever finds its way into my thoughts. I allow the morning news anchors to help me feel less alone, knowing they’ll never interrupt me.
There are always regrets. Always mistakes. The more thoughts that come and go, the more I realize my mistakes. Profound moments I walked right through. Opportunities I threw away. I could’ve done better. I should’ve done better.
It’s during these quiet mornings that I realize how far I am from becoming the person I want to be. I need to be more charismatic. Quicker. More charming. I need to be smarter. Stronger. I need to do more. Try harder. My goals are so far away and feel so impossible that it’s almost enough to make me give up. I contemplate giving up. I almost want to.
But then I filter back through yesterday’s regrets and mistakes. I figure out what I should’ve done different. It’s possible. I can’t believe I messed it up yesterday, but I could do it right if it happened again. I know I could.
That’s when my mornings start to grow more hopeful. I don’t need to give up. I can do better today. It’s still a bit dark out. I’m tired and cold. My coffee and steel cut oats help. Part of me wants to stay wrapped up in my big, fluffy robe forever but another part wants me to go out and prove I can do better today.
After breakfast, I take off my robe and defiantly allow the chill to viciously cut through me. I splash warm water on my face to open my pores and make it easier to shave.
I look in the mirror. For a second, I feel helpless. Look how old I’ve gotten. I always thought I’d be more successful, more accomplished by this age. I wish I could go back. I could do so much better if I could just go back and do it again. I look at my crooked nose and remember the punch that knocked it a little to the right. I’m so much stronger than I was when that happened. I finish shaving and feel the tingle of the menthol aftershave. I brush my teeth.
Today is important – a special occasion. Today is the day I have to make up for yesterday’s disappointing mistakes. I make my hair as perfect as I can. I put on my very best clothes. I put on my watch and tie my fanciest shoes – brown leather wingtips.
I grab my brown leather bag and black winter coat. I stop by the bathroom mirror before I leave. Today is important. Do I look as good as I possibly can for today? I wish I were younger and better looking, but, yes, this is my best.
I step outside and the cold hits me like a truck. It helps if I bring my shoulders as close as I can to my chin. I can see my breath as I walk. I look to the east and see the sun violently exploding out from behind the tall pine trees and distant mountains.
I’m so afraid of making more mistakes today. I can’t bear any more mistakes. Please. I hope I don’t walk through any profound moments today. I pray I don’t miss any opportunities today. I’ll do my best. But I won’t really know how I did until tomorrow’s quiet, lonely morning.