My favorite part of the day is quickly becoming the wee, small hours of the morning. It’s just such a delightful time. There is a peaceful silence about the world. Everything is still blanketed in a soft darkness as the sun hasn’t quite made its appearance for the day; the early rays of light just beginning to show along the mountain skyline to the east. The Cottage is quiet while the roommates are all still happily dreaming.

My mind feels clear and optimistic for the day ahead. I am able to plan and organize my thoughts for the day while curled up on the couch with my beloved cup of tea. The sounds of Frank Sinatra washing over me.

It’s the most beautiful time of day.

I haven’t always been such an early riser. Quite the opposite, in fact. Waking up used to be a never-ending struggle for me. I have slept through many a 10:30 class because I couldn’t get myself out of bed. At 10:30! Once I finally did get up, I would spend my days sluggish and worn. My motivation was lacking and my mind foggy. Those were some very dark days, friends. And they weren’t even all that long ago.

I’m not sure what brought about this change. I suspect it might have something to do with how in love with myself I have fallen recently. No wait! Hear me out. After years and years of abuse and neglect, I am finally realizing just how wonderfully important I am. I deserve the best. It is finally time that I start taking care of myself. I am eating better than I ever have and taking care of my body – the most important thing I own. And the changes I feel are astounding. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. I feel cleaner. purer. happier.

I never set out to make these changes. They started out so small at first I didn’t even realize they were happening. When I started running it was the first time I was working out regularly in my whole entire life. Then I had to cut alcohol out of my diet and I really started to feel a shift in my energy. In order to become a better runner I began teaching myself more about nutrition and gradually my plates were piled with fewer cupcakes and more brussels sprouts. Have you been introduced to the brussels sprouts? If not, allow me to introduce you because those brussels sprouts? Well, they have changed my whole world.

Once I began to feel better physically, I noticed the mental changes that were taking place as well. While I can still sometimes be my harshest critic, I have also become my very best cheerleader.

“You ran thirteen point one miles!” I’ll say, “There isn’t anything you can’t set your mind to and achieve!”

“Don’t quit now! I know you can do this!” I’ll cheer as I do round off back handsprings (in my mind).

“You are beautiful. You are strong. You are enough.” I love to chant.

I used to be terrified of changes. If someone told me I was changing I always took it be a terrible thing and I would panic and try frantically to reverse the trends. Changes in life scared me as well. They meant a deviation from routine, a voyage in to the unfamiliar.

But if I have learned anything over this past year it is that change is the best thing. It’s progress. It’s adventure. It means discovering just how wonderful those wee small hours of the morning truly are.