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by - 9:59 AM

I'm an early riser. Always have been, hopefully always will be.
People always look at me like I belong in an institution when I suggest as much, but sometimes it just feels like the early morning hours are stolen hours. Nobody else is awake yet. I'm all alone. Nobody else exists. Even the dogs are still sleeping. I don't have to get anything done, but if I do, that's productive kudos times a million.

In college, I used to wake up at 4 AM when I had a paper due. I could crank out fifteen pages before 6 AM and still have time to drink my coffee in the dark.

That's another part. I don't do lights in the morning. I light a couple candles and wait for natural light to pry my eyeballs open.
I think it all started in high school. I could sleep in 'til 6:30, but then I'd have to jump in the shower and scramble to be ready in time. If I got up at 6, then I'd have time to sit in the dark with my Opa and Oma and we'd drink some tea and have breakfast together. They like the dark too.

It's a weird thing how entirely reflective of them my adult life is, yet it strikes me every time I realize it. Perhaps because I notice it in increments. Oh, I do this thing and it's precisely the same way that they do it. It makes sense. We grow up in an environment led (typically) by two people and when we reach the limitations of childhood and branch out on our own, we naturally follow their direction.
I guess because I felt like I needed to rebel a bit, and maybe you're similar, it wasn't immediately that I took notice that I grew up to live like my family.

As soon as I established a home with Ryan and we became somewhat adult-like, I took up many of the routine practices that I had become acquainted with at home. I wake up early. I keep the lights off. I even listen to the same music as my Opa in my car. Come 3 o'clock, I'm having coffee.

It's a cycle.
So many things make me who I am, but so much of me is who they are.
The mornings, the coffee drinking, the affection for all things black licorice.

The thing that makes our lives so interesting is when you pair up and create a life with someone new, they bring their routines with them. Routines that stem from how they were raised. Those routines mix and mash and sometimes butt heads, but they become the routines that will define a new family. Our family. Us.

Ryan sleeps late into the morning. His family is similar.
My Oma and I can spend days laying on the beach. In all the years I've spent with Ryan, I've never tricked him even once into a single beach trip. Not his mom either.

Ryan and I are different, but we're also the same and once upon a time, we decided to roll with those similarities while dragging the differences along for the ride.
I adopted some of his routines and he adopted some of mine. I'm a dog mom now and he's acclimating to some of my Dutchy money saving techniques. That's just us.

Sometimes I'm just floored by what a simple cycle life is. You're born, you live, you die. Everyone is obligated to be born and to die, but the living part is all yours. It's completely up to you and how you manage it is all your own. I'm a firm believer that there are multiple versions of happiness and so long as your version isn't criminal or dangerous, it's completely valid.
My living is the obvious result of my upbringing but also the product of my personal version of happiness. Both have melded with Ryan's and we've created something entirely new and original to us.

It's morning now, although I'm finishing this much later than when I started it. The point is, it's morning and I've spent it philosophizing why my life is what it is before anyone else is even awake.

Stolen hours, guys. Stolen hours.

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