Changing the clocks in my house is no small task when Daylight Savings rolls around. I could blame the lengthy effort on a big house but the real issue is that I’m a clock watcher. I don’t like admitting that between watches and clocks today, I set 28 different time keepers. To put that shocking number in perspective four of the clocks are timers on things like thermostats and ovens. Others are alarm clocks in bedrooms and several are decorative. One is an antique. Ten are watches and most of those were gifts.
It’s been said that putting two clocks in the same room is certain death because they will always disagree. Even after a diligent attempt at synchronizing I know this to be true. To my right one clock says ten past nine but my great-great Grandmother’s clock has just chimed the hour. It’s old and past its’ prime so this is excusable but my cell phone disagrees with both. Such is the convenient fiction of clock time. No matter how you might want to believe the story – it isn’t real.
Measuring time is our way of giving it an identifiable shape, to gain some control over it. This is necessary because time doesn’t exist like other familiar things. We can’t hear time, smell it, or point to it and yet we know our allotment is limited. Ironically, our nebulous concept of time wears us out and sooner rather than later we believe little remains.
As a mother I feel this acutely when I stand next to my now tall children and consider I might be shrinking. I want to put a brick on their heads to stop the climb but I know it’s a futile effort. I can’t prevent them from growing up. I hate it and more than once it’s made my heart hurt. Time with them is precious to me, but the energy to enjoy it doesn’t come easily.
Certainly age has something to do with it – but my years are a fraction of the problem. I can’t blame my schedule either. I used to think it was a lack of sleep but that’s not a factor these days. I sleep like a baby. Time isn’t killing me because I lack hours in the day it’s because I lack moments in the hours. I spend so much time on the move trying to stay ahead of things that I don’t stand still long enough to enjoy the luxuries I have.
You’d think this wouldn’t take effort but with my DNA it does. I come from a long line of Puritans with a work ethic that despises idleness. In my family wasting time is a crime. Even “relaxing” amongst my relatives is done ambitiously. I knew our family tree was cursed when my niece woke me up from a nap on vacation in order to stick with our itinerary. I laughed at the realization that my drive pales in comparison to hers.
I can’t keep up anymore though, so even when it goes against the grain, I’m trying to simply live in the moment. It’s hard, but just two days ago I plunged off the deep end and didn’t drown. I was coming home from a meeting and strangely all I could think about was ice cream. Before I knew it I was standing in line at Dairy Queen for the first time in my life without reason. Nobody was celebrating and nobody was sad in need of cheering up. It was all about the moment.
I bought my treat and sat outside basking in the sun unapologetically, savoring every bite. It was the first time in seventeen years I’ve enjoyed an ice cream without some worry creeping in to melt my joy. Everything on my list of things to do, places to be, and people to see was frozen, and covered in chocolate. It was awesome!
I thought surely after this indulgence of sugar and sun I’d come home and need a nap but just the opposite happened. I was so energized I scrapped the plan to go out, whipped up dinner, played board games, chased the dog, and then wrote for three hours.
Today, hoping to maintain the momentum I stopped everything and took Chase out to the movies when he hadn’t even asked. This required ignoring the stack of paperwork on my desk and writing deadline but I had to go for it. It was late in the day and I didn’t want to miss our chance at a matinee so off we went.
With popcorn, licorice, and a good flick we had a blast. At the end of the show I thought surely the sun had set but to my surprise when we got to the door we were blinded by light. Somehow in the two hours of giggling with Chase I’d forgotten that thanks to a shifting of time, we’d saved an hour of daylight. The sun didn’t set on my list before I could accomplish it and once again I had the stamina I needed. Like the ice cream it was a reminder worth pausing for.
Time as we know it means little but how we spend that time means everything. At the end of our short lives we won’t remember how a thing saved time, but we will remember how something saved the day. Whether its ice cream, a movie, or just a walk in the park building more moments in your day is how you will seize it.