When it's early in the morning


For years, my weekday routine started out with me getting up early, getting a bowl of cereal and sitting down at my computer. While I ate my early breakfast, I’d check my email, see what was happening on Facebook, and just get a bit of a lift before I had to leave for eight hours of drudge.

That changed about a year and a half ago. When COVID struck, companies started allowing some employees to work remotely. Mine was no exception, but I still had to physically go on site early to queue jobs to the digital presses. It was something I could easily do from home, but that would require somebody there to send me a list of jobs that needed to be queued. It was just easier (for them) to have me drive across town and back every day.

But at least it was early in the morning, and I seldom had any face-to-face contact with anybody. Then, I’d drive back home and do the rest of my time online. And yes, the expression ‘doing time’ was intentional. But working from home allowed me an opportunity I hadn’t had before: having breakfast with my wife every day.

Our dining room table stands in front of a set of sliding glass doors that look out into our backyard, and onto the front range of the Rocky Mountains. While eating breakfast, we can watch whatever weather we’re going to have that day rolling in over the mountains. We can watch the birds at the bird feeder. On some cool, clear mornings, we’d see colorful hot air balloons drifting in front of the foothills.

A few weeks ago, when we were getting ready to leave for the airport for our trip to Seattle, Linda and I sat down at the table for breakfast. We had to be at the airport fairly early, so it was still dark outside, though the sky was lightening a little. It was no longer pitch black. We could see the silhouettes of the mountains against a deep purple sky, with streaks of pink.

“Breakfast before dawn,” I said.

“That sounds like a good title,” Linda replied. I thought about it, allowing the phrase to roll around in my head for a bit, and I decided that she was right, though at the time, I wasn’t sure what it might be a good title for. As we talked about it, though, we decided it would be a good title for this account, in case it ever makes it into book form.

This journey of ours has caused a number of changes to our routines. Linda has gotten up much earlier than usual a number of times in order to watch and participate in online conferences about various countries, foreign investment opportunities, and general topics about moving overseas. These conferences are usually, at best, on east coast time, two hours ahead of us, so she has risen early, semi-bright-eyed and ready to take notes.

If and when I ever find a fully-remote job, after we move to Portugal (or wherever), I’ll likely be several hours ahead of them. When it’s 9:00 a.m. in New York, it’s 2:00 p.m. in Portugal. In which case, I’ll be able to sleep in. Except that I haven’t slept past 6:00 at the latest in I don’t know how many years. So that likely won’t happen.

However, one of the money-making opportunities we’re both looking into is teaching English as a second language. The biggest markets for that are in China and India. Both countries could have us rising early to give lessons.

Being an introvert, I admit I’m a little reticent about it. It would involve dealing face-to-face with people. Online, yes, but still, I generally do better as a writer than a speaker. Also, I know I suck as a teacher. So I’m hoping that, if I do this, whatever company or companies I end up teaching for have really good, easy-to-follow curriculums.

At some point, I hope to be able to retire before I’m too decrepit, and just devote my time to the things I enjoy – exploring the world with Linda at my side, writing the stories that appear in my head, enjoying good food and drink in ‘faraway places with strange-sounding names.’

Until then, though some things could definitely be improved, we have a decent life. Linda and I found each other later in life. So, whether it’s early in the morning – before dawn – or later, I cherish the extra time I have now with Linda.