Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In The Wee Small Hours

I’m a little tired. In fact I may have to nap today. That’s because I got up early. 5:20 to be exact. It has been a while since I have risen before the sun has. But I did and for good reason. I was invited to attend the NYWA Star Breakfast this morning by my dear friend Nancy Moon who was honored with a Galaxy Award for work she had done with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.

It goes without saying that I am not used to being out and about when it is still dark. When the alarm went off, I didn’t budge, tucked in under my comforter, wondering what that distant noise was. I thought I must be dreaming. Until I remembered. I did have somewhere I had to be! At 7AM! In that mad rush that had been my routine for so many years, I jumped out of bed and headed for the coffee.

I used to have this down to a science. Deftly moving through my morning rituals. My colleagues would listen with amazement when they learned I had already been to the gym before the office. They were so in awe that I did not even bother to tell them that occasionally I also managed to water the plants, read my home emails and write a page or two in my book. I liked getting up early. I liked having that time before the rest of the world awakened.

The speed with which I made coffee, showered, washed my hair, put on my makeup and got dressed was clearly that of an experienced woman. It was part of a lifestyle that is still so familiar. Yet this morning, it felt foreign.

My doorman, no longer expecting to see me out and about so early, looked at me quizzically as I came off the elevator. In that way that doorman do, when they notice something is off your schedule, want to ask, but know they can’t.

Once outside the sky was starting to brighten. It was that curiously quiet part of the day in Manhattan before the city is in full gear, one of the reasons I always liked getting up early. I would savor the walk home from the gym to get ready for the office. Starbucks in hand, happy I had gotten my head start on the day I would wonder what lay ahead. Today I could only think of how quickly my life was changing.

The New York Hilton was a flurry of activity when I arrived. Barbara Walters was receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. Despite the sagging economy, the room held close to a thousand, mostly women representing the many organizations NYWA is the umbrella for. I have been to these types of events more times than I can count, yet this time was different. I was not representing any organization that employed me. I was representing me.

It feels awkward for me to explain what I am doing when meeting new people. I am never sure if what will come out of my mouth is the confidence I have in my best moments that I am on exactly the right path or the uncertainty I have in my worst that I must be out of my mind.

I chose confidence today. It was hard not to. The room had gathered to celebrate the contributions of a group of remarkable and inspiring women. The message from each speaker receiving an award was consistent. Take the risk, follow your passion, find work that brings you pleasure and support each other as women. The message was a reason to get up early.

So I took the risk. I shared with enthusiasm my writing, my novels, and my new adventure. I offered my freshly printed business card and a link to my blog. I was happy for the reminder that a lot transpires in those wee hours of the morning and happier still that I can now go take a nap.
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