There are only a few people with good reason to regularly rise from bed before sunrise: mainly, airport employees, cab drivers, early-morning talk show hosts and their makeup artists, and the actor and comedian Melissa McCarthy.
Every day, McCarthy wakes up at 4:30 am in the home she shares with her husband, two children, and two golden retrievers, according to a recent profile of her in the New York Times Magazine.
“She makes coffee and she does not turn on the news,” writes journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner (herself a master of the daily routine). “She does not check her email; she does not do Transcendental Meditation.”
Instead, McCarthy watches TV. “I treat myself right,” she explains.
McCarthy starts her day by sitting alone with a cup of coffee and an episode of one of her favorite shows: either Knight Rider, which is about a cop (David Hasselhoff) and his talking car, or one of the original episodes of The Incredible Hulk starring Lou Ferrigno.
When TV time is over, she opens the front door and scoops up the print edition of the Los Angeles Times, which gets delivered to both of her primary residences in L.A. and Atlanta (because, movie star). She reads that, and then the iPad edition of the New York Times, and then from a glossy print copy of National Geographic. And then presumably at some point the sun comes up and everyone else wakes up and the process of feeding and grooming and shepherding all those dogs and humans begins.
Something about the actor’s choice to start the day watching TV alone, followed by a slow, curated dive into the world’s news, feels revelatory—transgressive, even. A working adult’s day usually is a marathon through deadlines, commutes, responsibilities, and chores, all so you can get to that moment when you collapse on your own couch and spend 30 minutes watching something for no other reason than the fact that it entertains you.
What if you started your day with the fun instead? Yes, 4:30 am is a very early wake-up call, but wouldn’t it be easier to get to bed on time if you knew you had your favorite thing to look forward to first thing in the morning? Wouldn’t you be in a better mood—not just surviving, but thriving—if you started every day doing something you actually enjoy?