Why Did I Even Get Up Today?
Alexa, play "Motivation" by Normani
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My unreasonably cute dog/child/obsession has been having a mad case of the tummies for the last few days, and I’ve had to get up with her in the night a few times to take her outside. Generally speaking, she has a highly reliable constitution, so this is definitely unusual. She’s never had accidents and rarely asks to go out beyond her typical routine. Changes in food don’t tend to make any difference to her system either. But this week, she’s been struggling. Bless her heart.
This morning started at 3:45 am with a whimper-alarm. Effie already had a quiet accident on the rug but needed to go again. So, I suited up for the never-ending cold and took her down. When we got back in, it was close to 4:30 am. I considered staying up because I knew my 5:45 alarm would be that much more of a lil bitch if I went back to sleep. But I went back to sleep anyway. And yes, I was correct. The 5:45 was a lil bitch. I snoozed it for ten minutes. Then, I said to myself, “Thirty more seconds.” Then, “Ten more seconds.”
Then, I looked at my phone. 6:01. My soul left my body because I was late.
I’m on day seven of thirty in a month-long challenge to write at dawn for an hour. The commitment goes from 6:00 am to 7:00 am Monday through Friday and 8:00 am to 9:00 am Saturday and Sunday. It’s all a part of that evergreen act of balance I’m practicing these days. I’ve found it quite helpful in creating a sense of accomplishment in my day right at the beginning, and it alleviates the near-constant haunting of a ghost that floats around me all the time saying, “you should be writing (you’re never going to achieve anything in life).” Yes, that ghost is an asshole.
Overall, it’s an enjoyable challenge, and I’m glad to be doing it. I must say, though, I don’t think I would be able to show up consistently this early if I was doing it alone. You see, I respond well to public accountability. Sometimes I respond only to that accountability. For example, if I’m boorish or thirsty enough to post a selfie from the gym, it’s not just because I want attention; I also feed off of knowing that I’ve proclaimed something. I don’t want to be a liar out here! For better or worse, telling can be a huge motivator for me to actually doing.
Even better? Inviting others to join me. Nothing will get me motivated faster than having a teammate or a group I am accountable for. So, I invited anyone with the willpower and/or interest to hop into a zoom room at dawn and write for this self-inflicted thirty-day writing challenge. (That invitation is open to any Gangles as well; respond to this email, and I’ll add you.) Admittedly, the number of people generally interested was small, and the number actually showing up even smaller but, no matter the size, thank gourd for them; today I would not have shown up without them.
After the unplanned puppy walks and half-sleep caused by fear of said puppy walks, today would have been off the table. Today would have been an I’ll do it later-day. Today would have been a one more snooze-day. Today would have been an I’ll make up for it tomorrow-day. Today I would have allowed myself to break the commitment, and I’m pretty positive that it would have led to multiple days of excuses, cop-outs, and snoozing past my alarm. Domino-effect, etc. etc.
But I didn’t. Today, I had to get my gangly ass up and turn on that zoom for myself and my little team. Because accountability. Beautiful, wonderful, lovely, frustrating accountability. My energetic personal coach, motivating me to do more, do better, and do anything. Accountability.
I think the spirit of today’s writing is pretty clear, but honestly, who knows? I might not even be awake right now. This could all be a fever dream, and Effie could be pooping in my shoes. I hope not. Let’s imagine not! We are here, we did show up to the zoom room at dawn, and we’re reflecting on what gets us out of bed in the morning.
Sometimes we get up because of routine, and sometimes we get up because of excitement or anticipation, like on the first day of school or Christmas morning. But sometimes, we don’t want to get up. Sometimes we have been picking up disgusting poop too often and want to keep sleeping. Even better, sometimes we want to skip the day altogether because the world is a difficult, scary place. Sometimes we’re depressed and it has nothing to do with anything, we just…can’t. And that’s all okay - wanting or needing to skip the day is okay. But if we are interested in overcoming that impulse to stay in bed, it might help to ask a few questions and create some answers for ourselves.
It can help to have a reason. What is the why today?
It can help to have accountability. Who am I doing this for? Myself? A friend?
It can help to have a team. Who is relying on me? If I can’t show up for myself, can I show up for them instead?
Ultimately, for me, today was a show up for them-day. And ya know what? It felt pretty damn good.
So, what is motivating you today? Why did you get up? Who are you doing life for today? Who can you show up for?