Embracing the Freedom of an Early Start

My alarm was set for 7:00am, but there I lay at 6:30, wide awake at the hotel. Because my flight home from DC wasn’t scheduled until 12:30pm, I knew I could have a leisurely morning ahead.

But I got up anyway, took a shower, and finished packing my suitcase.

I knew the breakfast buffet at the hotel would stay open until 9:30am. I had planned on heading down around 8:00. But since I was completely ready by 7:15, I decided to grab my suitcase and go downstairs early.

I meandered around the buffet, choosing a few items for breakfast, and settled down for a pleasant conversation with other conference volunteers also preparing to return home. After the leisurely breakfast, we wished each other well and went our separate ways.

My original plan was to take the 9:00 shuttle to the airport, leaving me plenty of time before my flight. But since I had checked out of my room and finished breakfast by 7:45, I wandered outside as they were loading the 8:00 shuttle. Why not get on board now?

Arriving at the airport with time to spare, I faced the security line, which was long, but not terrible. I emptied my water bottle and joined the queue. It was a sunny day, and all flights were on time.

By 10:00, I was seated in my terminal. Now what? Freedom! Because I had plenty of time, I could work my daily NYT Sudokus. I could FaceTime my family back home. I could grab an early lunch.

What I didn’t have to do was rush. I didn’t have to stress. I didn’t have to constantly watch the clock.

Some people think doing things early is wasting time. I find it’s quite the opposite. For me, having a margin feels like a luxurious gift of extra time. It relaxes me and lets me approach the day with calm and contentment instead of feeling anxious from last-minute rushing.

Unfortunately life doesn’t always allow us the option of not hurrying like I had that day. Some days are so full that we must wake up running to cram everything in.

But when we do have the choice, I rediscover again and again that sometimes the best way to stay present is to revel in the freedom of an early start.

Does having to rush make you anxious too? Share in the comments.

11 thoughts on “Embracing the Freedom of an Early Start

  1. Jerralea Winn Miller

    This resonates with me, Lisa.
    Last month my job required me to be an hour early 3 days a week to open up the building for a special program. Instead of sleeping in and going in later the other two days a week, I just went in early every day all month long. When the program ended, I didn’t want to go back to the old way of doing things. I’m going to just continue coming in because coming in early calms me and sets the tone for the rest of the day. Who knew?

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    There’s that word, CHOICE!!! 🙂 Actually I have purposely always arrived at the airport early…. up to six hours or more? Why? Because I loved that no one knew me, and I could read, browse, just be alone. But once, I actually almost missed a flight! Sooo dumb, but I really got caught up in the book I was reading. So being early has its dangers as well! 🙂 Wishing you a Happy 4th of July, while freedom may still ring.

  3. Dianna

    I can SO relate to this post, Lisa. I’d much rather be somewhere early and wait there being calm and serene than having to rush and getting there just in the nick of time. I never consider it to be a waste of time.

  4. Debra | Gma’sPhoto

    Funny that you posted this. Funny because I discovered this by accident. Yes, let me explain. My work schedule had been 7-3.30. I work from home. My alarm set for 6am. I had plenty of time before work began. Well my schedule changed to 9-5.30. I still kept my alarm for 6. Now when I get up, I eat breakfast, walk on treadmill and then what ever I want before work. It is nice not being rushed. The freedom or luxury of that ‘extra’ time.
    Take care and best wishes.

  5. Jean Wise

    I do love waking up earlier than scheduled and start the day slowly and with less hurry. Sounds like you savor the presence quite a bit that day!

  6. Donna Reidland

    I’m not as good with margins as my husband but I do agree that having more time and not having to rush makes such a difference in the tone of the day. And when it comes to traveling, Mike and I both prefer to get through security and all that with plenty of time. We always have something to read and enjoy having the time to do so without rushing.

  7. Nancy Andres

    I’m naturally an early bird Lisa. In the summer especially, I get up early to do errands before the heat gets too bad. It’s 108 here in Tucson AZ so it’s a good thing I was out early and am cool staying indoors at the peak temps. As far as the airport goes, I’m an early bird there too. Loved how you shared how and why you made your choices and wish you a beautiful day.

  8. Corinne Rodrigues

    I’ve been struggling to get up early these days, most days I manage to get up by 5.30 am – and when I don’t the stress just builds up.
    Thankfully, my husband and I are the same with having to be early to things. But most times we end up waiting for other people to join us!
    Glad you had a good time at the confernce.

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