Daylight Saving Time begins the second Sunday of March at 2 a.m. in almost every state. Arizona and Hawaii don’t participate in this dance and they’re probably better off without it. The rest of us will lose an hour this weekend, and we won’t get it back until next November. The truth is that the number of hours of daylight and darkness don’t suddenly change. It’s simply an accounting trick, albeit one that will leave many people (including me) tired and somewhat out of sync for a few days. We can argue that time is an artificial construct, but most of us have to live by the clock. Everything is a matter of time. We have to be at work at a certain time and stay a certain number of hours. We have to arrive at appointments on time or risk rescheduling. Get to the airport or train station late and you’ll miss your trip. Although we can’t add hours to the day, we can use our time wisely.
Spending Time. We spend our time. We also spend money and we spend vacation. (Interestingly, we talk about buying or borrowing time, and when we are spent, we are empty, depleted, exhausted.) Perhaps we need to care for our time as if it were an irreplaceable commodity, because that’s exactly what it is. Wasting time is, well, a waste of time. Once time passes, we can’t get it back.
Slow Down. It can be hard to break the pattern of a highly organized, tightly scheduled life. You just have so much going on! You have to take the kids to school, soccer, and music lessons. Your parents need you to come over and fix the leaky toilet. You promised to pick up the dry cleaning and make the casserole for the potluck. The presentation is due tomorrow. People depend on you. The problem is that you have no time for yourself. In fact, you feel a little guilty at the thought of taking time just for you. That’s a sure sign that you need to slow down. Start small. Look for little ways to create time for yourself and see what happens. The world won’t end if you say “no,” or “maybe later.”
Give Your Time Away. Time is an amazing gift. Neither money nor things can replace it, and it’s unique. Your time is like no one else’s. Volunteering is one obvious gift of time. So is listening to a friend who needs a sympathetic ear. There’s a well-known saying that no one comes to the end of their life wishing they’d spent more time at work and less with their family (although there may be some exceptions). Make sure you’re giving your time where it counts, including to yourself.
A Day Without Commitments. Have you had a day recently (ever) when you had no plans? When you didn’t have to be anywhere in particular or do anything on a schedule? This can be hard (impossible) if you have responsibilities, but you may be able to trade a day of childcare, elder care or pet sitting with a friend or family member. Don’t plan anything. Don’t use the day to catch up on chores and tasks. Give yourself permission to sleep late, wear your pajamas all day, go out for a run, read a book. Let yourself go, just for today. Make a ritual out of your morning coffee or tea. Binge watch a series that no one else in your household enjoys. Take a nap. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy the passage of time without guilt or judgment.
None of us knows how much time we have. It’s a sobering thought, but also an inspiration. How will you spend your time?