Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Are You An Early Riser?

by Evelyn Horan

I look back in pleasant memory of teen years on Saturday mornings when I looked at my bedroom clock through sleepy eyes as its hands pointed to seven a.m. I yawned, turned over, and returned to a warm cozy dreamland. In most of my adulthood, when there was no urgency to rise early, I could “sleep in.”???????????????????????????????????????????????????????

As a classroom teacher, until retirement years, I was an early riser and I often looked forward to later leisure time years and “sleeping in.”  Now that the time has arrived I find nature has played a trick on me. Things are greatly changed in my senior years. I have six days a week when I can sleep in. But instead, I am wide-awake at six a.m. and even earlier, no matter when I retire.

So I slowly rise—I don’t spring out of bed as I once did. I sit for a while on the bedside, and bend over a bit to loosen up my arthritic back and softly utter a few accompanying groans.  Generally, I can tolerate a few aches and pains that have arrived with my senior years, and in a few moments, with a little sigh, I stand and slowly enter the bathroom, close my eyes tightly, and flick on the bright lights.  Slowly, I open my eyes, and at the sink splash cold water on my face and brush my teeth.  Then I get dressed, and am now prepared for the morning routine.

I open blinds, flick on lights, if needed, open the front door and retrieve the morning paper from the driveway and put it on my husband’s recliner chair, so he will have it when he rises. He has no trouble sleeping in, and I secretly envy his easy ability to sleep-in. Entering the kitchen, I stir up my fiber mix, and find my calcium pills for strong bones and helpful prevention of osteoporosis, and vitamin C pills for prevention of colds. As I relate my routine pattern, I’m quite sure most of you “early risers” can identify with this mundane schedule in some way.

Now, I have choices. How shall I spend my morning? What constructive thing(s) can I do today?  Doing nothing is not an option.  I shall tell you why.  My German grandmother Antonio Schaub and her philosophy had a profound influence on my life. First, I must not be lazy. I must work and accomplish something that is worthwhile each day.

Even in my quiet moments, which watching TV, I am crocheting, and at this time, an Afghan. I credit Grandma Schaub for teaching me that skill. I can still remember the dishcloth, my first uneven, zigzag, crocheted creation at the age of ten. Now different needlework crafts have become a part of my daily life through the years from embroidery crafts on household items, to crocheted doilies when they were in vogue; then on to hook rugs and wall hangings, crewel embroidery pictures, knitted socks and even two knitted dresses, along with crocheted baby items along the way.   Through the years family and friends have received these “hopefully welcomed gift items.”

All this is to say, instructed by Grandma Schaub, I have this ingrained belief that idle hands equal laziness, but with busy hands, much can be created and accomplished while just sitting and resting.

Back to rising early. There are many chores that fill a day, and I’m sure you are active and busy according to your health and limitations. One of the good things in our modern world is all the convenient household helpers for us. What a blessing! My Grandma Schaub would have greatly enjoyed most of these helpers when she was an active homemaker.

Sometimes I wish I could just be “lazy,” a bad word to Grandma, but I usually am “busy and on the go” most of the time.  Whether this kind of behavior applies to you—I leave for you to consider.

Our choices are myriad to complete our day’s activities, and mine are varied as well. I shall end this discussion with Ben Franklin’s sage advise as it applies to me: Early to bed (that’s me) Early to rise (that’s me) makes a man/woman healthy (that’s me-most of the time) wealthy

(NOT me) and wise (maybe–because most seniors are “supposed” to have wisdom).

About the Author

Evelyn Horan is a former teacher/counselor. Her articles and stories have been published many times in periodicals for children and adults in both secular and religious publications. She holds General Elementary, General Secondary, Pupil Personnel, and also School Psychologist life credentials in the state of California. Horan is the author of a number of books including Aging Requires a Gentle Attitude. Learn more about her work at

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Recovering The Self is a forum for people to tell their stories. Individual contributors accept complete responsibility for the veracity, accuracy, and non-infringement of their reporting.
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