It is 6:35am. I am sitting in the dark on my couch in the Airstream, wearing my robe and fluffy bunny socks with my favorite blanket draped across my lap. My eyes are still adjusting to the light from the computer screen. The sun has yet to rise. The coffee is not made, and Carl is still sleeping. What in the world am I doing?

Well, this is my first attempt—on this first morning of the rest of my life—to change my routine. I have been thinking about it for several weeks. The main reason is to find some time to write. It is hard for me to write during the day when Carl is awake. When he wakes up and his feet hit the ground, he is already talking. He is determined to engage with the world immediately. He opens the window blinds, walks outside for a minute, checks to see what I’m doing, tells me what he’s thinking, and so the day begins. Meanwhile, I’m still in the grunting stage, not able to voice complete sentences, and just want to drink my coffee in peace.

Since I don’t have a separate office to call my own, it is hard to find time to write in our shared space. I like to write when I’m alone and free to carry on with my thoughts and feelings without interruption. I’ve tried training Carl to be quiet and ignore me if he sees my laptop open, but some old dogs cannot learn new tricks. I’ve resorted to encouraging him to play golf or pickleball as often as he wants because I utilize that time to work on writing projects. But not every place we go has pickleball courts or affordable golf courses. I’m realizing that to be able to write on a regular basis requires me to change my morning routine.

I’m an early riser by nature. My dad didn’t believe in wasting daylight, so sleeping in didn’t happen often while I was growing up. Back in the day, when we were living in our stick-built home and working, I would get up early, let Tucker (our dog) outside, start my coffee, let Tucker back in, feed him, turn on the local morning news, and drink my coffee. At 7:50am, when Good Morning America went to commercial break, I would go back upstairs, get ready for work, and be in my home office between 8:15 and 8:30am starting my work day.

When we started living in the Airstream as full-time RV travelers, my routine changed slightly. Tucker is no longer around to take care of, and I don’t need to get ready for work (yippee!). I usually sit in the dark for a little while, playing games on my phone—Wordle and Killer Sudoku, if you must know. Then I turn on a morning show depending on what over-the-air channels we get with our antenna. If ABC is coming through, Good Morning America is my first choice because I have watched it for many years. Sometimes, though, I’m limited to NBC or CBS because of our location. I have grown to like CBS Mornings, with the Today show as my third choice. Once I’m more awake and less grumbly, I’ll make coffee and play Words with Friends with my mom on my tablet. Eventually, Carl gets up, and I finally start the process of getting dressed for the day, making the bed, organizing the Airstream, and so on.

If I change this routine, I will have at least an hour (if not more) to write before Carl wakes up. We are creatures of habit, though, aren’t we? And breaking an old routine to start a new one is a Herculean challenge. At least for me. Sometimes I wish I’d get up, get dressed, and walk outside to watch the sun rise. I’ll see others walking their dogs. Some are diligent enough to be getting in their morning run. Maybe a morning meditation or reading and contemplating a devotional? I thought about sitting in the dark for a little while enjoying the peace and quiet. I might give it a try one of these mornings. My sister-in-law wakes up to her coffee already  made! I like that idea because making coffee seems like a chore in the morning, even though I crave that first cup. I’m sure others jump in the shower or hit their snooze a few times. Or maybe they wake up hungry and ready for a big breakfast. What do you regularly do?

Last night I was working on the latest page of a gratitude book my daughter, Rachel, and her partner, Em, gave me. I like this particular book, A Life of Gratitude by Lori Roberts, because it is a departure from the typical “what are five things you are grateful for today” journal. It will ask you to think about your favorite red things, or five people to whom you’d like to write a thank you note, or why you love your pet, or how would you change your morning routine so that it is “rooted in gratitude and mindfulness” (the challenge given last night). So, I went to sleep thinking that maybe on this first morning of the rest of my life I could attempt a new routine. Of course, it doesn’t become an actual routine until I do it every day for several weeks, but I can always start anew the next day if my attempt fails on the current day.

After all, every morning is the first morning of the rest of my life. That’s true for you, dear reader, as well.

It is now 7:27am. Almost an hour of writing. Pretty good. I am going to treat myself to a cup of coffee, open the window blinds to look at the color in the sky and then play some Killer Sudoku. Baby steps still move you forward.

Good morning!