Friday 23 March 2018

Working it out: It took a while for it to dawn on me

Like Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, John Masterson likes to get out on his Harley
Like Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, John Masterson likes to get out on his Harley

Joe Masterson

Benjamin Franklin is usually credited with the advice "early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise." He was around in the 1700s, about a hundred years before Edison invented the electric light bulb, about two hundred before television started keeping us up late, and a time when the main purpose of a candle was to illuminate rather than provide an atmosphere conducive to seduction. It is a bit harder to go to bed early today than it was in Fanklin's time. But ask yourself what have you watched late on TV in the last while that was worth staying up for. These days you can watch anything you want to see when and where you want to.

Because I have become a great advocate of getting up early, particularly from April to October I have seen nothing late on TV in real time for ages apart from The Masters. I am no wealthier or wiser, but I am definitely happier that I have restructured my day, and maybe even a tincture healthier. I certainly feel great. I don't even set an alarm. I just wake up with the birdsong and am usually settled, often outdoors, with my cup of coffee as the day begins. And it is a world that far too many people do not experience and enjoy.

This is a time of the day to take things slowly and without any of the intrusions of business hours. No one will ring you so you don't even need to have your phone at your side. You can treat the internet as if it does not exist for an hour. There is space to think, and to feel, and they are both things that have been increasingly squeezed out of daily life. Sometimes I browse though clippings that I have taken from newspapers and have the time to read them properly rather than skim. I might read a chapter of a book, make a few plans, or go for a walk. Or I might do nothing.

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