Thursday, October 7, 2010

Morning Rituals

It amazes me how often people want to know more about my personal life. I can understand the desire to know something about famous people like actors or politicians, but accountants? Why would anyone want to dig deeper into the lifestyle of an accountant?

On a daily basis during tax season and at least weekly during the rest of the year I am asked questions that dig deeper than I feel comfortable answering. Frequently asked questions include inquiries about how I raise my children, am I married (yes!), what do I do in my free time, hobbies, where I live, where I grew up, who I dated in high school (who cares?), when do I get up in the morning, what I read, etc. Uncomfortable inquiries into my private life are one thing, but sometimes folks ask me how to cheat on taxes. Those conversations are short. And the answer is no.

I am willing to open up on a few personal items of my life. Since lifestyle seems to be the biggest area of interest, I thought I would lay out my morning routine in print.

My pedigree derives from agricultural stock. In other words, I was raised a farm boy. Got up every morning at 4 a.m. in high school and milked cows till 6:30 when I showered and ate breakfast before hopping on the bus. Still have a farm. Nothing fancy mind you, and no milking cows for me anymore. A few chickens and steers are enough to keep me satisfied. Clients that see me the first time dressed in farm clothes have a double-take. I guess it is difficult visualizing a bean counter in farm clothes shoveling the brown stuff, the real brown stuff.

So here goes. My morning routine:
  • 4 a.m. Yes, I still get up at 4 a.m. Sometimes earlier. The good news (for me at least) is that I no longer milk cows when I get up. Start coffee. Most mornings I read or write until 5:30 when my daughter gets up. My other daughter gets up at 6.
  • 6 a.m. The added activity of the kids preparing for school disrupts my reading/writing so I spend time with the girls. We pack a lunch for the girls (The school lunch is more expensive and less healthy. Sad. I know.)
  • 6:30 a.m. Sue takes the girls to the bus stop about a mile down the road. I head out and feed the steers. (Or is that steer. I use steer as a plural, but got chewed out by a grammar fanatic, so "steers" it is. But I still say "steer."
  • 7:00 a.m. Shower (remember, I was just out in the barn), breakfast, brush teeth, and any other family matters that need attention.
  • 8:30 a.m. Off to work I go. By now I may have logged into the office from home and planned out part of my day.
  • 9: a.m. I arrive at the office. The phone rings. My plans for the day are shattered. (Only kidding. I plan time for phone calls and emergency work.)
There are times I get the feeling folks ask about my rituals is so they can emulate them. They think I have some sort of gilded life they want to be a part of. In reality, I am not all that exciting. Is any accountant's/tax preparer's life exciting? You should not use my morning routine as a guide to your life. For one, I change things up often. Sometimes I watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee in hand or meditate for an hour. I always take a few moments for quiet time. Four a.m. is a good time to get quiet and think.

I started writing this at 5 a.m. after reading a back issue of National Geographic. It is a little after six and I need to do a quick review and then post. I plan on reading until seven or so and then preparing for work. See you there.