The morning is a tragically underutilized resource. People seem to want to see as little of it as possible. Some people use this funny colloquialism that they’re “not a morning person” to absolve themselves from participation in the morning — whether they sleep through it or just sleepwalk through it — and everybody just nods and goes, “Oh, sure, I understand. Me either.”

Surely, sleep is a major factor here. We work hard — or at least we work a lot — so work gets up as early as it can. To compensate, we play hard, which keeps us up late, too. We use caffeine to get up, and alcohol to go down — plus whatever else — so we’re locked in a cycle. Like everything else in our society, sleep is a fungible commodity, so that’s what we cash in for all this waking-life stuff, and consequently, we hate the morning.

Well, I recuse myself from that “we.” I’m not going to say “I’m a morning person!”, because in our vernacular that translates to, “I wake up early to do 70 emails on my phone while running on a treadmill drinking coffee with the news on TV in the background.” I am an evangelist for the long morning.

I’m ashamed to talk about how long my morning is, because I work at home and have all kinds of other privileges. I’m only advocating the difference between waking up startled, immediately getting dressed, and maybe eating while on the way to work; and waking up calmly in the dark, moving the body a little, meditating, and then going about one’s business. The non-obvious thing about it is, it reliably mellows the mood. It lowers the temperature on the whole day, which improves sleep, which improves the morning. Suddenly, you’re a morning person!