Blind Optimism


The sun had long since risen and the clock was poised to announce that the time was 7:00 a.m. when I awoke this morning. For a person who is used to getting up very early—usually between 4:30 and 5:30, this unusual experience was akin to losing half the day. Though I suppose my body needed the sleep, I wish I had gone to bed at 7:00 p.m. last night so I could have arisen during darkness, at a civilized hour. Two shot glasses full of very high-end sipping tequila (Don Julio 1942) probably contributed to my very lengthy nap. I’m in the process now of weighing which I want more—waking in darkness and isolation or drinking superb tequila. It’s a hard choice; I want both. And perhaps I can have both. Tequila in the late afternoon, followed by bed in the early evening. I suspect I would be up and ready to face the day by 4:30 a.m. the following morning. I’ll have to experiment with this concept.

It is well to be up
before daybreak,
for such habits
contribute to
health, wealth, and

~ Aristotle ~

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Aristotle was one of my mentors, though he appeared before me rather late in life, after I had misspent my youth. But his admonition to get up early, while the sun still slept, has been with me since I was just a child.

This blog contains so many mentions of the joys of arising early, before daybreak. It’s a bit like a religion with me; I believe in its value and its strength and power, even without any evidence of consequence.


My IC is closing on the sale of her house today, which calls for celebration of some sort. However, we still have much to do to empty the contents of her house (even though the title is changing to the new owners today, they have given her additional time to vacate and give them possession). So, maybe celebration will have to wait. In the meantime, we’ll continue to lug carload after carload of stuff to my house, where we’ll find places to put it. This process has prompted me to go through much of what I own and to dispose of a lot of “stuff” for which I have neither a need nor a want to keep. And, of course, I have to get rid of some things that I’d rather keep, but that I cannot justify keeping for any reason except sentimentality. Sentiment is sometimes a valid reason. But not always. Sometimes, sentimentality is just a crutch that keeps a broken heart from healing.


Even though I do not have anything pressing that demands my time at this hour (7:34 a.m. as I type this), I feel rushed because it’s well past daybreak and the day has moved along far beyond where it normally have been this soon after waking. So, I’ll put an early end to thinking with my fingers this morning. I have much, much more on my mind, but the call of a productive day is competing with the call of a late leisurely morning—and winning.  But know this, as you wade into your day; you’re on my mind even when I don’t write about you and your exploits. Even now, as I scramble to catch up with the time I’ve misspent by sleeping in, you’re on my mind.


A week or so ago, my IC and I had a conversation that included discussion of the poem, Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann. The poem moves me the way few do. About four months ago, sometimes in April, I included the full text of the poem here on my blog. This morning, a few lines stand out in my mind and help me overcome my embarrassment about getting up so damn late:

… be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

So, there you go. Here I am, experiencing a morning when I could berate myself for sleeping in; but I don’t, thanks to the words of Max Ehrmann, even in their syrupy optimism. Sometimes, we have to be blindly optimistic that the world is not as horrible and painful as it appears to be.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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