It happened a few years ago—I don’t recall exactly when. I started preparing oatmeal each morning, the non-instant kind. I had never spent much time on breakfast and usually ate bread with chocolate flakes or a bowl of yogurt. Then I discovered the wonders of a warm bowl of oatmeal and, later, a hot cup of coffee. Perhaps I was trying to balance my fast-paced job with a slow-paced breakfast. An act of defiance, of deliberately taking it slow.
Breakfast is one of my favorite parts of each day. When I take the time to prepare and eat a proper breakfast, I’m building a healthy mental attitude towards the rest of the day. When I prepare and eat my favorite breakfast, I spend time working on me before I get to anything else. And I do it without rushing.
It’s partly biological. By the time I have breakfast, which is usually between 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., the last meal I’ll have had will have been the night before, so perhaps 12 hours ago. That’s a long time not to eat anything.
The coffee is just as important to me as the oatmeal. I make my coffee using a Chemex, although I have a French press too. My favorite part is grinding the coffee beans by hand. It takes a surprising amount of force to turn my grinder’s handle and that might be precisely why it’s so rewarding to feel the coffee beans crack.
Curiously, taking the time for breakfast also helps me to go sleep on time. There were times when most nights I stayed up too late to get eight hours of sleep. Often it was to read in bed, which was a distraction from the reality that I wasn’t looking forward to the things I’d have to do the next day. Now that I have what you might call a breakfast ritual, in the evenings I look forward to the very first thing I’ll do the next morning. When you tremendously enjoy the first thing you do each day, it’s not so hard to get yourself to go to sleep.