1. The brief moments of being warm in bed, having woken up before the alarm goes off, wondering why I even bother setting an alarm if my brain is just going to wake me up anyway, but knowing if I didn’t, I would sleep in too late and miss work, because brains are mysterious and mischievous.
2. Taking a hot shower.
3. Smelling the coffee being brewed.
4. Drinking coffee, especially that first sip. This is listed separately because it might not happen until #5 or later.
5. The calm 5-10 minutes before leaving for work, sitting in my dark office bathed in the glow of my computer screen.
6. The actual drive to work, listening to music or podcasts, enjoying the lack of traffic at 5:00 AM.
7. Hearing people’s accents from around the country, but especially Tennessee.
8. Bacon from the cafeteria on my first break.
9. Being able to explain something to someone in a way that helps them understand said thing in a way they didn’t previously, and particularly their delight in response.
10. The chicken strips from the cafeteria on my second break, which is basically my lunch time, since my second break (in an 8 hour shift) is at 11:30 AM, which are delicious and cheap, especially with ranch dressing or barbecue sauce.
11. Not the drive home itself, since there is more traffic and requires more attention, but the fact that I am driving home, instead of taking the bus or riding my bike, primarily because of how much less time it takes.
12. Getting home while there is still plenty of daylight outside if I feel like going out there and doing things.
13. Getting paid.