6:30 Wake-up Call: How DC forced me to grow up

As a note: this post, so recent after my first one, is more because my supervisor at my internship encouraged me to blog about my experience in DC.  So, I’ll probably be writing more for my own benefit than because of the requirements.

ANYWAYS: Growing up.

I’ve always been that kid who doesn’t do mornings.  I don’t schedule classes before 10 am (or 9:40, if we’re getting real ambitious), I try to avoid working early, and I get dressed in record time.  I’d say I averaged 10 minutes prep time during Fall Semester 2014.  That prep usually went as follows: alarm goes off, typically an hour or so before I have to be somewhere.  Hit the snooze.  Alarm goes off ten minutes later.  Hit the snooze.  Repeat until it’s 9:20, I have class at 9:40, and it’s a ten minute bike ride to school.

Cue chaotic music.

There’s a lot of mumbled swearing as I rub the sleep from my eyes while yanking on yesterday’s pants, a lot of confused running around while I searched for that shirt I wanted (which, 99% of the time, I’d worn yesterday and is now in the laundry), and me bolting out the door around 9:30 after grabbing my waterbottle and my backpack.  Eating breakfast was a rare event – if I was lucky and moving fast, I’d cram a muffin or a piece of toast into my mouth during the bike ride.  Sometimes, if I was really on top of things, I could even stop at the coffee shop in the building to grab a latte and a bagel.  But usually, I’d just suffer through my slew of classes hungry and grumpy until I could go home for lunch and a nap.

DC doesn’t allow for that kind of morning.

One of the biggest changes upon moving here was getting used to actually commuting to work.  Unlike the ten minute bike ride to class, work is now either a 40 minute walk, or a 20 minute Metro ride (with all the unforeseen hiccups that can come with public transit).  Rolling out of bed twenty minutes before I have to be at work is basically a death sentence to be late – fortunately, I haven’t had to make that “I’m so sorry I slept through my alarm” call yet.  Also, going the entire day without eating (like I was so used to) would probably result in the death of myself or one of my coworkers.

DC isn’t a cheap city, so if I want to live here, take the Metro, eat out for breakfast and lunch, and have money for activities, I’ve either got to marry rich real soon or steal an ATM.  Either way: it’s why I walk a lot and why I have to budget my time both at night and in the morning, to make lunch for the next day and to eat something for breakfast.

It’s also why I’ve actually started listening to my alarm in the morning.

6:30 AM used to be my enemy, the time I’d get up at if I needed to finish a paper.  Now, it’s when I roll out of bed, and I don’t even touch the snooze button anymore.  My roommate, bless her heart, also has to get up at 6:30, so we’ve got a great morning routine.  She changes in the bathroom while I change in the room, we swap for the morning pee, and then it’s 6:40 and we’re getting ready for the day.  Typically to the tune of her Michael Jackson Pandora radio, but sometimes we’ll just grunt about how tired we are (this has typically followed an up-too-late night when we either watched the Bachelor or stayed up giggling about stupid stories from work).

But we get ready and then I have breakfast.  Which is such a strange phenomenon to me.  The coffee is brewing while I put on my makeup, and by 7:15, we’re watching CNN and eating food.

Guys, I watch CNN now.  At 7:15 am.  Voluntarily. 

It’s not a life I imagined myself having in Montana – in fact, my tendency to sleep in was one of my biggest worries about moving to DC.  Coupled with my tendency to be up until 2 (or 3) am, browsing the millions of cat videos on the web, I kind of thought I wasn’t going to be adult enough to move to DC.  Not gonna lie – the first week was rough.  I didn’t know what to do when I actually had time to sit down and drink a cup of coffee and make myself some eggs.  But now – now, I’m starting to wake up earlier on the weekends (my stupid internal clock has me up by 8 on Saturdays now.  I hate it).  And I’m also looking forward to that 6:30 alarm clock, because it means CNN and my cup of coffee and Michael Jackson.  It also means I’m about to head to the office to my adult job (okay, adult internship).

Some kids grow up when they come to college – that’s when they adapt to early mornings and eating breakfast and going to bed at a decent hour.  For me, it’s taken a move across the country and an actual commute to work.  But hey – we can’t all grow up at age 18.  And not all of us wanted to.

Although I do miss my 1:30 am cat videos.

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