The Perfect Circumstances

So did you do it? Did you set your alarm for fifteen minutes before you usually get up? Did you even try?

Now, let me head off your objection and your reasonings by saying this: If you wait for the perfect circumstances you will never get anything done. (By the way, that is not me that said that. That is Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes, so hah! Don’t blame me if you don’t like it.)

Starting a new habit is hard. The act of setting our alarm seems like an injustice when, after long day of chasing around small children, we finally collapse into bed. But it is by indulging in this kind of logic that we ended up losing our identity in the first place.

When everything around us is urgent, we lose perspective on what is important.

Think about that again. When everything around us feels urgent: mouths to feed, messes to clean up, tantrums to extinguish, fights to mediate, deadlines to meet, commitments to be met… Ugh. We lose sight of who we are, who we want to be.

Example: it has happened that, when my little boys were hungry (and so was I), but we were still about thirty minutes away from dinner, I exploded at them with a rage I did not know I possessed. (I have never pretended that I have my act together, please remember that.)

It was urgent: I was hungry. It was urgent: they were hungry. In the urgency, I did absolutely everything wrong. I dropped a box of pasta on the floor, an entire box of elbow pasta dumping out onto the floor. I couldn’t find my grater and freaked out at my eldest, who sometimes likes to use it as a “texture” for his drawing projects. He didn’t have it, of course. It was exactly where it was supposed to be, but I was too wound up to see it.

The boys were hungry, so they were nosing around the kitchen, crunching elbow pasta underfoot asking for a piece of cheese. Yeah. I lost it. At them. At me. At the whole situation that got out of hand.

In my Ideal Life I am a person who knows what is for dinner and has it ready before everyone gets hungry.
In my Ideal Life, I am a person who has a place for everything and always finds it there when she looks for it.
In my Ideal life, I am a person who does not freak out at her children.

This kind of situation used to be the norm. Urgency ruled the day, and my natural instinct to freak out when things got out of control was my only recourse. Obviously, In my Ideal Life… I am not a person who freaks out. I couldn’t have been farther from my Ideal Life if I had gone to the edge of space.

Then, I made that one little change. I started getting up fifteen minutes earlier. I wanted to be awake before anyone else in the house. I needed to think. In silence. Without having to be anyone for anyone.

I have always been an early riser, that is simply a fact. When I was working full-time outside of the home, I would be up at 5:30. I enjoy being up early. But…children put a damper on that whole enjoyment. There was a spell there when my youngest child was systematically waking up at 4:15AM.

So, I did the unthinkable. I set my alarm for 4:00AM. Yes, that’s right. 4:00AM.

Can I tell you the miracle that happened that day? That day my youngest child slept until 6:30AM. There are some things that cannot be explained. That is one of the greatest miracles that has ever happened to me.

I cannot guarantee that you will experience that same kind of miracle. But I would simply ask you to give it a try. Not 4:00AM. I’m not crazy. But fifteen minutes before anyone else gets up.

Here are the circumstances I want for you: I want it to still be dark out. I want no one else to be awake. I want you to be cozy. I want you to have your coffee in hand. I want you to be able to get settled and to be completely alone with your thoughts.

Go set your alarm right now. Your miracle is waiting.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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