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Day 198 - The Clock

No not the biological one. That one quieted down some time ago...

But just the actual fucking in your kitchen or on your phone. I have an issue with the clock.

I was born 23 days poor mom. That would never happen today. They wouldn’t let someone be that late. However, it was 50 years ago and back then they did lots of things differently. Likely, they calculated my due date maybe I was right on time...who knows?

However, in our family story, I was 23 days late. And I think that somewhere, I got the message, perhaps in utero, that I was late and I think I have been trying to make up for it since.

First of all, now I am never late...except when I make myself. I am such a freak about the clock that as a spiritual exercise, I sometimes am late just to increase my frustration tolerance. It is actually painful for me to be late. I get all twitchy and weird and spinney. It is hard. I am usually 15 minutes early for being early...

So what is the problem? I am timely and that is not a bad thing except it kind of is...

I feel this propulsion. Like every second the clock ticks off counts against me somehow. I feel like I had better hurry up and if I don’t there will be dire consequences. Sometimes it so overwhelms me that I can’t even enjoy what I am doing because I am just trying to hurry through to get to the next thing. It is an issue.

I used to call my kids' school if I was going to be 3 minutes late to pick up...I wish I were kidding.

Lane (sorry) and I had this in common. We both understood the clock issue with each other. I could see him getting agitated about the time and I totally got it. It was nice and also kinda hard. It is not easy having two people in a relationship obsessed with time.

I have always felt that time operated differently for other people. Monday mornings have always been full of the weekend recount and I am always amazed at how everyone else’s life seems like it has this easy flow to it whereas mine feels like I have been running a marathon except I have been sprinting the whole time...

Everyone else’s life feels like this:

Took the dog for a walk on the beach...

Went to lunch...

Had friends over for a BBQ...

Went to see a show...

Brunch with friends....

Beach day...

Did a few projects around the house...

Mine feels like this:

Tookthedogforawalkonthebeach,wentttolunch,hadffriendsoverforabbq,wenttoseeashow, brunchwithfriends,beachday,didafewprojectsaroundthehouse. (Except all the letters should be on top of each other for full affect).

So it occurs to me - can I change my relationship with time? I didn’t pick this relationship. It is just factory installed. I came with this default setting and I, long ago, if I ever actually received it, lost the instruction manual on how to change the settings...

I have thought about this a lot. I have spent hours of my life wondering about how I can expand time and not feel like it is always out to get me. Of course, none of us can slow down time but this fact seems to disturb me more than other people, except Lane, he gets it.

What I have come to is that time is relational to expectations. What makes time appear to speed up is my expectations about the time I am given in a day. I pack into the day a myriad of things that I expect to accomplish. My morning routine will be our demonstration about how much of a freak I am...

Morning routine (this is every single day...)

Wake up early like 4 or 5 am early

Get coffee (only one cup because I am worse highly caffeinated)

Write a gratitude list (12 things every day no exceptions)

Write in each of my kids journals (I started when I was pregnant and just never stopped)

Do an inventory of how I treated myself and others the day before

Write a blog post (sometimes this take an hour - sometimes much longer)

Read some spiritual books (I have limited myself to 3)




Now you see why I have to start at 4 am!

When we were actually going to an office, I got all of this done (minus the hiking) and was in the office by 8:30 which would also include showering and getting ready and commuting...

Just writing all of that makes me tired.

However this is how I start my day, every. single. day.

So back to expectations...I think at least part of my interesting relation with time has to do with the fact that I seem hell bent on packing the day full. Look at my morning for Pete’s sake!

So perhaps my problem is not really with time but my expectations about time and myself. Perhaps I always feel like I am running behind because I have too much stuff scheduled. This became painfully aware to me when the pandemic hit. I heard everyone say how bored they were and I could not figure out what they were talking about...I haven’t been bored, hell yesterday I barely sat down!

I think that I, in order to have a better relationship with time, have to decrease my expectations about what I will achieve in a day. I have to slow the fuck down and relax, stop doing so much. This seems easy, but it so fucking hard for me. I am trying! But slow time, down time and relaxation feel somewhat like a prison sentence to me...

I seriously miss having a relationship because that motivates me to relax and settle down. I am more willing to spend Sunday afternoon lounging on the couch watching football when I have someone besides the dog to do that with...alone, I am going to be hiking up a mountain or building something, not spending my time idle.

But if I dig a little deeper, I can see that perhaps I am missing the point. Perhaps, it doesn’t matter how much I achieve or do or not do in a day. Perhaps it is about how much I enjoy what I am doing. And I do enjoy all that I do (most of the time) in most days. However, I can see that this need to do and accomplish, robs me of my enjoyment of the present moment. I can’t fully commit to whatever I am doing because of my commitment to the schedule.

Recently, on my morning hike, I have stopped at a bench and sat down. I have forced myself to sit there until the edginess dissipates. I stay on that bench until I am able to calm down and give myself permission to stay there as long as I like, clock be damned! Once get to the mental place where I can stay there all day if I want, then I take a few breaths and then try to begin again...slower.

What you would see if you observed me would be a woman sitting on a bench enjoying the view. What you would see if you could see my thoughts would be a flurry of mental activity in every direction at once. You would see me getting up off the bench about 1000 times and then sitting back down again. You would see a person spinning...

But I have learned that things that make me spin are usually good. They require a spinning out so that I can settle the fuck down. Bleed off some of this energy so that I can move forward a little less driven, achieving.

I have no delusions that the clock is ever going to be my bitch. But I am committed to finding out how to have a less controversial relationship to time. Schedules are fine but I take them and then make them into something that removes the enjoyment of the activity. I have learned recently that I am my own killjoy! UGH!

So today, midway through my morning routine, I am going to take a second here to pause. To just see the words on the page. To marvel at how I just wrote all of this. I am not going to judge it. I am going to just be proud of the fact that this is the 198th day I have posted in a row! As odd as it might sound, I lack discipline...except to the clock.

I am setting a goal that whatever I do today be filled with awe and wonder at what I am doing while I am doing it. I am going to try really, really hard to not allow the clock to make me anxious or hyper. I am going to try to just be with the moment and not let all the prescheduled following moments take away from the moment at hand. This seems like spiritual work I can do. Let’s be clear, I do not want to do it. But I also would like to have a different time relationship so I will begin here.

So if you happen to see me today, take a close look...see if you can see the spinning. If you can, tell me. I want to know. I need an external control to keep me honest. And if you really care about me, ask what I didn't accomplish today! Then make a big deal out of what I failed to do...

Time really slows for no one. But I think that I can change my relationship with myself so that time is no longer my not so benevolent companion. I can breathe. I can savor. I can allow the fullness of the present moment to help me remember that how I live this moment right here is where life happens. Not at the end of an endless to do list. Not in how much I did in a day. It is really in how I treat people and that would include myself. So today, I will allow the clock its proper place in my day...a structural framework to hang my life upon. However, I will allow life to throw me curveballs in the shape of things that I consider interruptions, irritations and derailments. I will see that all of those happen to show me that the clock is nothing more than a reminder that time is the same for all of us...what is different is how we use the time we have.

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