Monday, July 29, 2013

Keep it Simple

Last week I had the great opportunity to perform in the horn section of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.  It's always a real treat for me when I get to play with them; this time, the deal was even sweeter because I got to play with my good friend and CCM colleague, Jeremy.  Jeremy and I carpooled from Cincinnati all week, and had a lot of time to catch up.  We had many great conversations about making the most out of life, and living exactly how you want to live.  A subtopic of this conversation involved Jeremy's summer practice routine, which entails getting up at 5:00 every morning.  To a lot of people, waking up at 5am daily is undesirable and may seem impossible. Here's a summary of what Jeremy had to say about it:

"People ask me how I get up at 5 every day.  I say, 'I set my alarm for 5am and then I wake up'.  It's that simple."

This simplicity resonated with me so much.  Like many people, I have a hard time getting up early.  I'm the girl who sets 10 alarms on her phone and ignores every one of them.  Eventually I stumble out of bed just in time to throw on jeans, pour some coffee in a travel mug and walk out the door.  In the moment, it's so easy to make excuses for sleeping in.  I always try to justify it by convincing myself I'll have plenty of time during the day to complete everything I need to.  This is rarely true.  At the end of the day I usually end up being mad at myself for my inability to do the right thing in the morning and just wake up when the alarm tells me to.

Jeremy's simple explanation of how he gets up so early every morning really got me thinking- mostly about how I tend to make simple tasks way more complicated than they need to be.  Getting up early is difficult for me for a number of reasons.  Some are legitimate; some aren't.  Whether the reasons are justifiable or not, I know getting up early will help me live every day exactly how I want.  What if, instead of rationalizing or justifying or making excuses, I just got up whenever my alarm went off?  What if I kept it that simple?  I know that there are more pros than cons of getting up when I intend to.  I'll feel better about myself, and I'll actually have a fighting chance of getting the day's tasks completed.

It's like the old quote- falsely attributed to everyone from Albert Einstein to Mark Twain- about the definition of insanity: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".  I can't expect to make changes in my life if my daily routine never changes.  If I want the outcome to be different, I have to consciously make new choices.  For starters, I can't expect to live every day like superwoman if I keep ignoring my alarm.

I'm trying something new this week.  I'm going to get up at 6AM every day.  This will allow me plenty of time to get some face time in on the horn before I set foot in the office.  My trial run this morning was successful.  The alarm went off at 6:02, 6:03, 6:05 and 6:08.  Once the last one went off, the excuses crept up.  "You really could just sleep till 6:30."  "But you're SO tired!"  "It's still dark outside..."  Normally, I would have chosen to listen to at least one of those excuses.  Instead, I thought of Jeremy and how he'd been awake for an hour already, and asked myself one question: "How badly do you want it?"

If I want my life to include everything I desire, I have to make changes.  It all comes down to choice.  I could choose to listen to my groggy excuses in the morning, or I could choose to simply set my alarm for 6am and then wake up when it goes off.  When you think about it objectively, the latter is far simpler than coming up with a half-asleep elaborate ruse of justification.

Getting up early is just one of many examples I could use of how I make my life way more complicated than it needs to be.  I hope this is only the beginning of discovering more ways to simplify my life, taking away baggage and living fully and honestly.

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