Does it Really Matter What Time it Is?

When I was young, my grandmother promised to buy me a watch when I learned to tell time. With Mom’s help, I did learn, but I wasn’t fast. Not content to give approximate times, I’d carefully count the dots between the major divisions and announce the exact time, as in “It is 10:23.” Then Grandma bought me my first watch.

Does it Really Matter What Time it Is?From them on, I always wore a watch. It was inconceivable not to. How could anyone function without a watch?

But one day, I realized I’d become compulsive about checking the time – even when there was no reason to. I looked at my watch during each of life’s pauses and even more so when I had some place to go. I was preoccupied with time, and that fixation heaped added stress on my day.

I tried to retrain myself, but the habit was ingrained and refused to leave. My only alternative was to go cold turkey. I ditched my watch.

That was over a decade ago. The result is less stress, more focus, and the opportunity to live in the moment. Life is better without a watch.

Now I shift my focus to nighttime. A light sleeper, I never make it through the night without waking up multiple times. My alarm clock taunts me: 12:07, 1:22, 3:15, 4:29, 4:43, 4:57, and so on until morning. I get up exhausted.

For the past two months, I’ve slept in a room without a clock. Frustrating at first, I now accept that I don’t need to know what time it is when I wake up prematurely. Though I’m still waking up throughout the night, it seems less often – and somehow less infuriating. My lack of sleep is less stressful when I don’t have a clock watching over me.

We live in a time-crunched society, with clocks dictating too much of what we do and when we do it. But knowing what time it is won’t give us any more of it and may hurt what time we do have.

Minimizing the number of clocks around me is my small effort to reclaim life and make the most of the time I have.

[This is from the September 2014 issue of Peter DeHaan’s newsletter. Sign up to receive the complete newsletter each month via email.]

4 thoughts on “Does it Really Matter What Time it Is?

  1. I love everything you share Peter,

    Your Time letter could have been written by me. The only difference is that it’s my husband who checks the clock ten times each night. I sleep through it.
    My first watch—a paper one— was a gift from my little cousin when we were children. It did not last long. I had to wash my hands at some point.
    My parents bought me my first real watch when I entered Law school. I never took it off, day or night except to shower. Obsessed with it, I was checking the time every two minutes for years, even though my days were mine, and I never had to report to anyone. One day, while taking it off to shower, it fell on the tile floor and broke. I was heartbroken, but it turned out to be a divine intervention, after all: I was set free.
    My husband bought me beautiful and expensive watches that I wore on special occasions but at some point I did not “need” them either. I gave them to my daughters.

    Years have passed and I often feel pressured for having too much to do and not enough time.
    Time appears to go by faster, especially for those of us who grow older. Are we running after Time or is Time chasing us? I cannot run, though. Not with my leg and hip issues. Luckily, I don’t need to anymore. I keep reminding myself that Time, or the lack of it, is no longer my enemy. As I slow down, Time slows down as well. Eventually, we’ll catch up on each other. At least then, I will not be tired of running. Until then, any time I feel hurried, I say out loud Dr. Christiane Northrup’s Time affirmation, below, and become conscious of what I am doing at any present moment. It has made a difference and works for me.

    “Time is on my side. Time is standing lusciously still for me. I am creating timeless time. I have enough time. I’m having the time of my life!!! I am where time comes from—in slow, sexy, sensual rhythms of joy and pleasure that stretch out into eternity. Ahhhhhhhhhh!”

    Blessings, Peter
    Keep sharing great stuff!

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