‘Does anybody really know what time it is?’
If anyone should know what time it is, it’s me. Along with sneakers, earrings, CDs and otters, I have a thing for watches. Watches of all colors and styles, to match all outfits, moods and activities. Cheap ones off the streets of NYC, slightly pricier ones from Macy’s. Mostly chunky with round faces.
Some have sentimental value, like the one with the burgundy leather strap I’ve had since the 1980s. It’s actually a replacement one my mom gave me after mine was stolen back in 1990. We had the same one and she literally took the watch off her wrist to give me. Well, maybe not literally – that’s the Hollywood version. But you know what I mean.
And then there’s the plastic, loud-ticking Swatch I bought from the new store near me just last year. (I’m so happy Swatches are back … I had one from the ’80s too!). Son Daniel ‘built’ his own, where you pick out the band colors and designs, the face, even the little ‘buckles’ right at the store (or you can do it online). After he moved to Texas for school, I built my own with similar funky colors of pink, orange and green, and I think of it as a bonding thing whenever I wear it, which is often. (I have a rare, coveted penguin swatch too – how cool is that?!!)
‘The thing about time is that time isn’t really real. It’s all on your point of view …’
In some ways, my mini watch obsession gives me a solid sense of time. I wear my digital ones for walks and I can tell you that I normally walk a mile in 5-16 minutes. I know my pace around the running track – 4:00 minutes is a pretty comfortable, 400-meter lap; 3:47 is swift but within reach; 3:30ish is me really pushing it and cheating a little by running the last part of each lap. I also pretty much know, each step of the way, what my pedometer reads as I shoot for my daily, 10,000 step (five-mile) goal.
Despite all this …
I have a kind of quirky, sometimes challenged relationship with time. Am I the only one, for example, who ALWAYS thinks I have more time to do things than I do? Who NEVER thinks things will take as long as they do? Who’s perennially running a few minutes late … trying to squeeze in ‘one last thing’? Who’s trying to shove the proverbial ’10 pounds of poop’ into a five-pound bag?
I sometimes like to think it’s that I’m optimistic. In the same way I always think I have more room on a page or post-it note to write what I need to write.
But I also realize I have this habit where I look at the clock and say to myself, ‘Oh good, it’s only __ o’clock.’ But then I’ll remember (or someone will remind me!) that I still have a bunch of things to do to actually finish what I need to finish by a certain time. It’s like I’m so in the moment, I believe time stops ticking or simply lose track. Also, I’m big on finishing things and hate to stop in the middle and switch gears. So, I have to do things like tell myself that leaving on time doesn’t count until you’re actually in the car driving!
‘Now that my life is so pre-arranged, I know that it’s time for a cool change …’
I know it’s not the biggest thing in the world. But with the New Year upon us, I figure it’s time to renew my resolution to improve my ‘on-time performance’ – if only to reduce the stress I constantly put myself under because I, ironically, hate being late. And I am, honestly, one of the most reliable, deadline-meeting, do-what-I-say kind of person (maybe just five -10 minutes late, or huffing and puffing with the effort of arriving on time).
My related New Year’s Resolution is to try to dial things back a little and not be on this constant treadmill of trying to do everything I can, all the time. Maybe do and stress a little less … and breathe a little more.
If you share some of these challenges, a couple of tips I can offer are to: 1) set your watches/clocks ahead a few minutes; 2) build in extra time for your tasks; and 3) prioritize so the last thing on the list – which you invariably won’t get to – is the least important. Share your time management challenges, tips, resolutions? And, in the meantime, please check out some lyrics that are inspiring me on this path (some of which I’ve hinted at in the subheads above) …
The Secret of Life (‘is enjoying the passage of time’) – James Taylor
Howlin’ at the Moon – Sam Bush (‘Take a little time for sunshine. Take a whole lot of time for love …’)
Cool Change – Little River Band (‘If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing, it’s the time that I spend alone, sailing on the cool and bright clear water …’)