You’ve seen them. Short, cheerful posts about the straightest line to your best self, often with the words routine and success, topped with a jaunty hat of hot coffee.

Bits of content, strewn around the internet like bird seed, encouraging a bright and productive morning routine, or admonishing those who need a minute.

I’ll admit that there is some good, practical advice lurking, some of which I try to follow. But it’s the stuff we all know, the stuff of life, Mom stuff — rehydrate, healthy breakfast, stretch, etc.

Not buying it

I am significantly rubbed the wrong way, however, by the suggestion that starting your day like billionaires is the path to success. Mimic the successful and you, too, will achieve success! That is cruel and careless advice, my friends. Don’t buy it.

I don’t much care that Richard Branson uses his early hours (even when he’s on his private island!) for exercise and breakfast, but I’ll bet the help was up even earlier.

Let’s not imagine that there’s a right way for all of us, or that there’s magic in some morning trick.

The CEOs who wake at 4 a.m. to “work out” before their “work day” begins are certainly entitled to their mania, but I think we’re not getting the whole story.

I’d probably pop up rested in the dark if I had a masseuse in a cupboard, too. Give me a staff, I’ll boast about morning.

I won’t be able to join Anna Wintour for her morning hour of tennis because I lack the subordinates to keep my tennis whites white, or to clean up last night’s dinner, or have my supremely healthy and delicious breakfast prepared upon my return. I don’t have a driver yet and who is going to the grocery store?

And someone needs to get that cat vomit in the laundry room.

The morning is my morning and my morning changes and has very little to do with whatever success I have. And what does that even mean, that word success? I would argue that the fact that we are warm, fed, sort of rested, and not arguing is heroic success. Keep your successful, billionaire fingers out of my morning, thank you.

Sorry if this just sounds like so many sour grapes, but these lists of how the world’s wealthy and powerful start their day seem like unrealistic reaching for stars to many of us — and frankly a waste of our precious time.

Some people should absolutely not be morning people because they get their best work done in the middle of the night. And some people don’t have the luxury of or interest in a long-winded routine. Let’s not imagine that there’s a right way for all of us or that there’s magic in some morning trick.

Drink water, make your bed, exercise, eat well, prioritize your day — but only if you want to and only when it works for you and your own unique little self. Sometimes it’s better to avoid the news and the infernal morning advice.

Go back to bed. Maybe that’s where the magic is.

Lisa Renee is a poet and essayist living near a big lake in New York. You can find her writing on Medium, and in Exposition Review, HuffPost Australia, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, and Eastern Iowa Review. She is also managing editor of nonfiction at daCunha. 

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