It’s 4:30 am and you’re wide awake. No, you’re not 90 yet but your son has been kicking you in the nuts repeatedly since he moseyed on to your bed sometime after midnight. You try to sleep on the couch but you’ve got what the Buddhists call “monkey mind.” The minus at the bank. Your asshole boss. Your mediocrity in general. So what do you do? Here are ten things every successful person should do before 6 am:

1.Go out for a run. That’s right fatso. Put on those shorts and grab the iPod. In Israel this is the only time of day you can run without risking severe dehydration and/or death. It’s dark so no one can see how funny you look with your moobs bouncing. Or your awkward, funny, spastic way of running. Just avoid parks. There’s a good chance you’ll get molested by a homeless person. Or a raccoon. Very important not to forget the iPod. So you can play that Journey song at full volume and sing along without being embarrassed.

2. Call your mom and tell her you love her. She’s definitely up. She’ll appreciate that you thought of her. Say “No, of course not” when she asks whether you’re on the weed. Or the mushrooms. If she is deceased call her younger sister. Or her brother. If none of the above apply call your dad. Tell him you love him. He’ll probably grunt. Or ignore what you said altogether and tell you about his new espresso machine. If he’s dead call a suicide hot line. They’ll be thrilled to talk you off the ledge. Because let’s face it. Your life sucks.

3. Write your own obituary. This is a great way to gain perspective on your life. Mine would read like this: Jason Fredric Gilbert. Born in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania in 1978. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Temple University. Made obscure art house films that were roundly ignored by critics in his twenties. Blogged briefly for Times of Israel before the mental breakdown and subsequent lobotomy. Fought bravely against the cyborgs and/or zombies during the apocalypse. Became mayor of Ramat Gan. He is survived by a wife and son.

4. Get to know your cat. He’s up. He’s been angry ever since you’ve had a child. Now is a good time to rub his back. Tell him you forgive him for not catching the cockroaches. Or the mouse. And for throwing up nasty hairballs on the bed sheets every effing time you change them. Then pet him on the face. Like right on the whiskers. He likes that for some reason. Maybe even crack open a can of tuna for the little guy. It’s Starkist time ol’ pal.

5. Masturbate. This is the best time of the day for self pleasure. Just make sure you turn down the volume on the computer. And for God’s sake remember to delete the history at the end. The last thing you want your wife to see when she turns on the computer first thing in the morning is a webcam showing a pair of shemale midgets playing strip poker to the theme song from Twin Peaks.

6. Shave your hair. I’m talking about your pubic hair. Buddhist monks shave their head because they believe that the hair follicles are connected by synapses to the brain. By shaving their head they are cleansing, in a way, and letting go of all the experiences that had accumulated in the hair. And don’t borrow your buddy’s shaver. Because chances are he’s used it to manscape as well. Just make sure to close the door. The last thing you want is your wife to think you’ve found her toy. And for God’s sake clean up after yourself.

7. Take a bubble bath. First of all it’s relaxing. Second of all it doesn’t make you any less of a man. Well maybe the little rubber duckies floating around and the lavender scented candles. But screw that. You need some YOU time. So put on some Air Supply on your iPod and start lip syncing to “I’m all out of love. I’m so lost without you…”

8. Drive down past the old (or new) Central Bus Station. Look around you at all the prostitutes and junkies. Slow down, tiger. She’s really a he. But don’t judge them. In fact when I started working at my current job I jokingly asked what had happened to my predecessor. It’s a hammy old joke I like to make whenever I start a new job. An icebreaker. Well, as it turns out, she became a heroin junkie and a prostitute. They know because someone made a documentary about her and our company ended up doing the subtitles. So the take away from this is that no matter how bad you think it is, it could always be worse. A lot worse.

9. Smoke em if you got em. Joints that is. But a cigarette will do in a pinch. But not inside. That’s disgusting. And makes everything smell. And your wife hates the smell of cigarettes. So go downstairs and sit on the steps of your apartment and light up as all the teenagers start stumbling home drunk from whatever nightclub/houseparty they got wasted at. Think back to when you used to be the young and loud drunk teenager, who consumed life like you were invincible. You could learn a lesson from these obnoxious little deuches. Namely that you are never too old, too responsible or too uncool to go out and have one hell of a night. Put the kid with your mom (she owes you after all those 4:30 am phone calls declaring your love), grab your wife (or husband/gay lover/lesbian amore) and get so plastered you lose all memory of the night. If you do not wake up in custody or with a new tattoo or piercing you suck!

10. Make your wife/husband/gay lover/lesbian amore the most spectacular breakfast in bed. But be quiet about it. And no frying up of anything. That smells awful. The last thing anybody wants wake up to is the smell of bacon. Well, not me. I want a bacon inspired alarm clock. But not my wife. She would throw up and then kick me in the nuts along with my son. I’m talking hard (or soft) boiled eggs. Fresh coffee and orange juice. A piece of toast (gluten free in my case). Maybe a variety of soft cheese. Like Feta. And what we Israelis call Tsfatit. Maybe some jam. Go downstairs and pick a few flowers from the neighbor’s garden. Put it along with the food on a silver tray. Or a plastic one. Put on some romantic music. Maybe Leonard Cohen. Or Agnes Obel. Gently wake her/him/them up with a kiss.

You might as well get used to waking up early. You’re not as young as you used to be. And yes, there’s a good chance you’ll fall asleep at some point during the work day. Like ten minutes after lunch. Because you’ve been up running and writing and bathing since 4:30 AM. But take it from me. Those quiet hours, when all is still in the world, you are as close to God or the Universe or whatever, as you can ever expect to be.