My wife has a theory about early morning walkers and joggers. It’s dangerous, according to her, because it’s always the 5 am jogger who discovers the grisly murder victims in those ever-popular forensic police shows. Dum dum duuuuuum.
But she’s wrong. And I can prove it, because I have become one of ‘those’ people.
Hello, my 5am friends.
Over a month ago, I accepted the Peak Persona challenge, a lifestyle programme that provides routines, habits, tools and skills to better manage and understand mindset and emotional states for optimal performance. A way for me to become my best self.
The first step was getting up and at ‘em at 5am. Every day. No excuses.
Now I’ve seen a sunrise or two in my time. I was a keen swimmer until my teens, no stranger to the dawn rise to hit the pool for a quick ** km warm up before high school.
Sometimes I’ve seen the sun peek over the horizon at the end of the night when youth was on my side.
More recently it has been in no way of my own volition, rather more likely when one of my two kids has a pressing demand for food or cartoons. And since having kids I still feel owed for about five years sleep.
As a parent of small people, you play that game where you’re exhausted and should go to bed; but also it’s your chance for freedom! To watch an episode of something that isn’t animated and doesn’t finish with a sing-song morality tale. So argue with the guests of Q&A and Lateline through one half-open eye.
So this is a big change for me. No booze after 8pm. No Netflix bingeing. Screens down. Early to bed, early to rise. Me getting out of bed at 5? AM?
I told my wife.
After she stopped laughing, she said sure go for it. Well after threatening me about waking her…
So it began. Day 1. Dawn. Just me and the local footpath.
Except it wasn’t just me. There’s a whole Lycra army up, seizing the day. And these people are, surprise surprise, very different to the people you might meet when out for a walk late at night.
I don’t know these people by name, but usually their description or (more likely) by their dog. Their faces have become familiar.
Everyone says hello. A couple of people noticed and commented on my improvement. When I hurt my foot and switched to the bike, they waved. I guess it is unlikely that anyone who is angry at the world is getting up at 5 am and going for a walk or run.
But I have felt buoyed by this anonymous community cheering me on with a morning greeting. A new club.
You don’t have to have a dog to join, though I’m trying to convince certain people that’d be a great idea. You don’t have to wear Lycra. Sometimes it’s best not to.
But by getting up and out I’m prioritising my physical and mental health for something I couldn’t find time for before. I’m greeted by my kids, and not the other way around. I chat with them about the day ahead and get them off to school. And I’m my desk early, working on creative meaningful work before the day begins.
Having recently completed all 30 days, and still going, it’s been one of the most uplifting habits to rediscover. And part of my success has been knowing I’m not alone.