I am currently encountering a dilemma greater than any dilemma I’ve ever encountered before: I don’t know if I’m an early bird or a night owl. Here’s the breakdown.

My first declaration of being a night owl started with a big bowl of noodles. I had a lot of trouble falling asleep when I was younger. When my dad had to occasionally work late and get home after my sisters and I already ate dinner and were all in bed, he would make himself one of his classic college creations; broccoli and noodles.

Before he would even poke his head into my room to see if I was still awake, I would be blissfully aware of the second dinner I was about to consume after the smell of the garlic had made its way upstairs before he did. Sitting on the floor with our faces two feet away from the television, we would eat our broccoli and noodles out of the largest salad bowl in the pantry whilst watching Larry King Live. It was our ritual, and my initiation into night owl-hood.

My membership in this exclusive owl club has continued on in many experiences throughout the years. During high school, I spent most of my nights in dance studios, practicing double pirouettes that I would unfortunately never end up perfecting. I have grown addicted to late night campfires, thanks to Phantom Lake YMCA Camp. After a day of programming, counseling, and running a summer camp filled with over 150 campers, sitting around the campfire with fellow counselors was the perfect way to relax with copious laughter.

In college, I hosted two different radio shows with 94.1 The Dog. Jacob and Claire on Air aired on Mondays from 10 o’clock until 11 o’clock my freshman and sophomore year, featuring below average impersonations of political figures and sports commentators. The Theory Hoarder’s Soundtrack aired Tuesday’s at 9 o’clock, featuring my favorite indie music, including background about the meaning of the songs, music videos, and stories of the artists.

Staying up late has been a habit of mine for as long as I can remember, and a habit that I thoroughly enjoy. And then I saw a sunrise once and I reevaluated every life choice I have ever made.

Every time I visit home, I watch the sunrise at the beach with good company, and we go to our favorite breakfast spot after eating bananas at the beach. It has become one of my favorite rituals, and I am now addicted to sunrises, along with campfires. While studying journalism in Morocco, I watched a sunrise in the Sahara Desert when it was cloudy and raining, and yes, it was in fact raining in the desert. A few friends and I decided to take blankets out into the sand instead of staying in the hotel, and it turned into once of my most memorable nights. I then watched many sunrises in the rice fields of Bali when I was studying arts, religion, and social change in Indonesia. We were encouraged to bathe in the river, as it was a tradition in the village we were staying. Many of us would watch the sunrise in the rice fields, and then walk down to the river to bathe, all before breakfast was served.

During our senior year of college, some friends and I woke up at 3:30 a.m. three days in a row to drive to New Mexico and experience the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and go camping in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We watched hundreds of hot air balloons inflate and lift off into the beautiful Albuquerque sky, one of my favorite college experiences. In less interesting mornings, I enjoy going to the beach alone before my family wakes up to collect sea glass, or enjoying a cup of tea with a book that I probably should’ve already read by the time I’ve picked it up.

What I used to never consider being enjoyable, possibly based on my poor choice in alarm sounds, I now find one of my favorite parts of the day.

So now you see my dilemma. Regardless of whether I define myself as a night owl or an early bird from day to day, which I must admit does in fact change quite frequently, I am happily enjoying every moment, even the moments when my alarm goes off in the morning, and the moments where I stay up too late writing papers. It’s a good day to have a good day.

Forever & Always,

Claire Franksen