Zero dark thirty

The bliss of solitude three hours before sunrise.

Three Twenty Five

I wake up at 3:25 a.m. I don’t often reveal this fact. Most people just don’t get it. Explaining doesn’t help.

I get up early for two reasons. First, I recharge when I am alone. While some are rejuvenated by human interaction, I find it particularly draining. My workday is, for the most part, a continuous series of interpersonal contacts. Once the workday ends, I immediately transition to the role of husband and father. Joce has the kids all day; helping her means taking over kid duty. More human contact. It is important to me to be an engaged father, and the last bit of emotional energy I have for the day is spent by the time they are tucked in by seven. Eight-thirty, I’m ready for sleep. Misanthrope? No. I just love the quiet.

Even before I began waking up early I would be ready for bed before nine. But going to bed early and then sleeping late keeps me from servicing my other great passion…

Hobbies. I love hobbies, and I have more hobbies that any reasonable man has a right to. I love hiking, running, working out, reading, writing, microelectronics, amateur radio, computer security, home improvements, research, personal improvement, ad infinitum. Time is a scarce resource. In order to tend the hobbies that crowd me like so many sheep – I wake up early.

From 3:25 until 4:50 my routine is a fairly tightly choreographed operation: pee and brush teeth, get dressed, make coffee and protein shake, meditate and five-minute journal. This gets me to just about 4 a.m. The next 40-to-50 minutes are mine to do as I please. Currently that time is spent reading each of three books for 12 minutes. Time permitting, I write.

On weekdays I’m getting ready to head out the door to CrossFit by 4:50. Except Wednesdays – which are reserved for a run or a long walk while catching up on the RiskyBiz podcast. I’m home at just about 6:45 a.m. when the kids begin emerging. Perfect.

On the weekends this routine may be slightly modified. As I don’t do a workout, I have from about 5 to 6:45 to do with what I will. One day I’ll do a much longer meditation. On the other I enjoy longer reading time, paying the bills, or working on other projects [codeword: hobbies] that simply cannot get done during the week.

This time is vital for sanity, restoring emotional health and feeding intellectual curiosity.

So why 3:25?

To beat all the guys that sleep in until 3:30…