Being that this is the week after our semi-annual, fuck-with-my-sleep-for-a-week thing we call the daylight saving time “Fall back,” I thought I would write about TIME today. I have always had an uneasy relationship with time. It may or may not have started when, as a young child, I observed the arbitrariness of certain aspects of our commonly-accepted clocks and calendars. Things like daylight saving time and leap day/year made no sense to me. If time was supposed to be the actual measure of some basic physical phenomena, such as earth’s rotation or the revolution around the sun, how would/could we just change time? Daylight saving in particular; we’re not really “saving” anything. Just shifting. I realize there is a history of WHY we do this, but the fact that humans just decided to change our clocks and noon is no longer noon is baffling to me. What systems could be benefitted by this decision that couldn’t also be benefitted equally by everyone just deciding to change business hours in the summer from 9-5 to 8-4, or the equivalent? Better yet, we could just all decide to cut out of work an hour early in the summertime, but of course, that would be way too anti-capitalist, anti-puritanical, pro-recreation for this country. We’re America, after all, the country where everyone works to prove their worth to society, the more you work, the better a human you are, or something. But I digress.
So time is essentially a construct of man. Of course we could simply know when to wake and sleep based on the lightness and darkness in the sky, but why quantify it as we do? Why wouldn’t we curl up and sleep more during the winter, as a semi hibernation, when the other living creatures on earth are also more dormant? Of course this is all about labor and work that needs doing at all hours. Would we not possibly be better off if we followed a more natural schedule, tied to the observable changes in daylight and night darkness?
Even apart from daylight saving time, time is still a man-made concept. Time zones were invented to coordinate railroad schedules so that people could know when to catch a train in one place and how long it would take to get to another place. Imagine if we all just decided that wherever you are, the sun sets at 5pm, which is close to true in my neck of the woods nowadays. Everyone’s clock would be tuned to the sun, but because the sun sets earlier in the east than in the west, given a similar latitude, we would all be saying it’s 5 at slightly different times and that can’t work all too well. So I do understand WHY we created time, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s “artificial” in some ways.
People say “time is money.” The truth is, though, that time is convertible, but not ONLY to money. Time can literally be converted to whatever you want it to be. Time spent enjoying experiencing or creating art is soul fulfillment. Time spent with your family could be any number of things, but it’s not money. Of course you can also convert time into money, assuming you have someone available who is willing to pay you for your time.
The one thing time always is, is forever passing. We move through time constantly, and even milliseconds taken to observe the period at the end of this sentence is one that you will never get back. Time is also a contributor to depression (overly simplified as feeling bad about things that happened in the past) and anxiety (overly simplified as feeling bad about things that MIGHT happen in the future). The only time you truly have access to in an understandable form is right now. No wait, now. NOW. This instant. Right now.
I find comfort in living with the cognizance that I have no control over what happened in the past or, in many instances, what will happen in the future. Nobody really planned for this pandemic thing taking up the last 20 months of our existence, now did they? But I can control what I am doing now, how I continue to write my truth and my experience, sharing with you at least weekly. And when I’m done with this, I will put dinner away and go to bed. Maybe I will get more than 3 hours of sleep tonight, but I’m not going to get anxious about it. My schedule will work itself out over time.