I would get up at 4:00 am. I was living with my parents. Sometimes my mother and father would also be up. There wasn’t much speaking. It was dark. It was often cold. There was coffee, Folger’s crystals, usually. It took an hour and a half to get ready – rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, a long hot shower, getting dressed, the hair, the makeup, the finished product. And, I would drive to work. I’d leave about 5:30 am. Rain, sleet, snow, or simply the dew of the morning dawn, and me. It’d take about 10 minutes to drive the 5.6 miles. I knew all the curves of the road. I felt like a race car driver speeding to the next check point. And, when I arrived at work, there was only one person there.
I would do the necessary check in with the night auditor whom I was relieving. And, then I’d begin my morning tasks. I’d review the guest register. I’d count the petty cash. I’d check the drawers and make sure they were all balanced. I’d check the fax machine. I’d check for messages. I would tidy up any messes. I’d prep the continental breakfast. I’d brew coffee, get orange juice, and danishes from the walk in coolers. And, then, I’d wait. Now that I was awake, it was my turn to watch the morning wake up.
At that point, I had probably close to three hours of quiet time – steadily moving at my own pace while the grounds crew trickled in. Regular employees didn’t show up until about 8:00 am. Three hours, more or less to myself, with maybe upwards of 4 interactions per hour. Quietly left to my thoughts, to ponder, to tidy, to review.
Things would pick up after 8am, and then when 2pm rolled around, the next shift would start, and I would be on my way.
That was the most enjoyable schedule I ever worked. I didn’t know then that my personality lends itself towards introversion. I just knew that I enjoyed the pace. Similarly, I had a follow-up hotel/front desk job where we would check in groups of 200 guests, with pauses between. The pace worked. Our manager staffed us such that there were enough people to handle the swells and we had enough time to get things done. Fast, slow, fast, slow – enough to keep the brain active and catch up.
I have lost that pace. I have lost that natural watching of the morning, following natures patterns as I mock my own patterns in my constructed world. Now, it’s getting up by alarms, tending to others needs, driving, arriving. I cannot show up at work two hours before anyone else does – who would get Levi to school? I cannot leave three hours before everyone else does – I have been relegated to answering the phones. My duties, my extroverted duties run conflict with my introverted nature and a desire for natural patterns.
How, then, can I live more intentionally and balance my days? How can I, within these roles, take back control of the pace that left me at peace?