Photo by Shuna Fish Lydon
Someone sent me an email to request a conversation with me tomorrow at 2:00 pm. Ever since I stopped wearing a watch with regularity a couple of years ago I’ve been struck by how tethered we are as a culture to the idea of hours and minutes. Time, as in the time of day, days of the week, is so woven into the fabric of our lives that we have a hard time organizing ourselves without considering it. We have difficulty imagining what a day would be like if it weren’t broken up into hours and minutes.
Slots to be filled with useful activities.
So, when someone wants to have a phone conversation with me, instead of just picking up the phone, they send an email, and try to find a particular slot, bounded by numbers, in which I might be available to talk with them, in a particular slot, bounded by numbers, which works well for them.
Don’t people just pick up the phone and call anymore?
The problem is that now that I work for myself, building a business that requires just my creative attention, not a consulting business that is bonded to time constraints of clients, I have a hard time with doing anything at an appointed time, and submit to it only because it is necessary and important to others. There is also TV; Dr. Who comes on at 8 pm on Friday and if I miss it, god help me if I can find a rerun. I get almost a little panicky around the hours that I need to remember, because so out-of-time-consciousness am I that I easily, completely forget. Yet when I need to wake up at a specific time, I can do so, without an alarm. Can you?
Days are a bit easier. Wednesday in the food section. Saturday I can usually get some work done because I’m not bombarded by a hundred emails that need answering. Sunday is church, whether I go or not. I’m addicted to 2 TV programs at the moment, but I don’t usually remember that they are on until a half hour before. Monday dinner, “oh, the Closer is on.” Friday dinner, “Yikes! Dr. Who starts in 5 minutes.” (Except when it doesn’t. Half the time our cable company shifts it to another time slot on Friday. Ironic. Dr. Who is a time lord.)
Back to that 2:00 appointment. I have no other plans. But I do have a 9-year old nephew to entertain, and who knows? Perhaps he would want to go to the zoo. I don’t know what I’ll cook for the site until I after I wake up in the morning, perhaps it will require me cooking at 2:00?
I cherish the freedom to do whatever comes up in the moment, and do whatever is needed to be done at the moment. Saturdays and Wednesdays are dream days because I have absolutely no commitments. Free to create anything. Nothing to remember. No panic over appointments missed. There’s something going on on the other days, something that I need to organize myself around.
How do you relate to time? Do you sleep with your watch on? Does an alarm wake you up? What routines do you have that are defined by the numbers of your clock? How full is your calendar? What is “full” for you?
There’s no rush for answers. Take your time. ;-)