"There is a lovely song called 'Alive' by Mara Carlyle that opens with the lines:

I'm surprised by the sun every day I wake up,
I'm surprised by waking up!

"Mara's voice swings from woozy to perky as she sings, mimicking the change from slumber to consciousness. What's cute about the lyric is that it reenacts the childlike wonder of waking up, the wonder that the world is still there, that the person waking still exists. Even for grown-ups, waking after too little sleep, or with a hangover, or beside the wrong lover, or following a series of troubled dreams, there is a moment, just before the jaundice or despair reloads, when simply to be awake again, and still alive, is an amazing surprise.

"Why is that? Why, even though we do it every single day of our lives, can waking up still surprise us? Is it precisely because, until that moment, you were sleeping and therefore not alert enough to be able to predict that you were about to wake up? If that is so, then technically speaking waking up can't not be a surprise — because right before it you are, by definition, asleep.

"So even though waking up might be the most foreseeable event in our lives, as dependable as the sun rising in the morning, we never actually see it coming. Predictable and unpredictable in equal measure, waking up is a paradox, a kink in the straight logic of things, which is just one of the reasons why it's worth thinking about. In fact, as ordinary as it seems, waking up is one of the profoundest actions we can take. It may sound odd to say that there is a philosophy of waking up, but in a way the whole of philosophy is about nothing else."