We make holes in teeth!

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I don't know how to not be a prisoner of time. No matter what I do, time dictates so much of my life that I can't help but feel that I'm a prisoner of this abstract concept that some societies do not even have a word for. I wake up to an alarm, I get on a train which comes at 6:55. I leave by 4:10 so I can get the 4:15 subway and make the 4:50 train. When I jog I do it for 20 or 40 minutes. When I lift I wait 30 second between sets, 60 second between different exercises. This was all today. Just today. As I sit here now I see that the computer clock says it's 9:03. In order to get a good night sleep, I'll need to go to bed soon. I am a slave, the clock is the master.

How to escape? Do I remove all the clocks and watches in my life? Then how do I know how & when to get to and from work? Improbable move, losing all the clocks. But there has to be a better way than having the clock always displayed in the lower right hand corner of my computer monitor. Ok, how about this, I'll hide it. Right-click on the Windows toolbar, select Properties, then deselect the check box which says "Show the clock".

Ok, so now what? I suppose it's a step in the right direction. But it's only a small step. Perhaps I shouldn't wear my watch to work. But what about meetings? Am I doomed to miss them all because I don't know what time it is? I must look at some clock 300 times every day. I would bet it's more than that. Maybe 500. So if I hide my computer clock and stop wearing my watch, will I be more free? Or will I be disappointed when I find that it's only 10:00 when it feels like 11:30?

I suppose there must be a decompression of sorts that needs to happen first. Think about time and how we misperceive it. If you have an hour to get something done at work, it seems like you're under a major deadline. But try sitting on the floor for an hour and not moving. It then turns into an eternity. Time is one of those things that rules us, yet we entirely define it ourselves. An hour can seem like an eternity, or it can seem like the blink of an eye, all based on what we need or want to get done in that time.

An alternative is to leave society and start living on the land. But chances are I'll wake up when the sun rises and then get hungry often. Besides, if I do that I have no books, no music, stove, house, car, and so on. No, that's hardly an answer. Somewhere along the line I need to embrace the fact that it doesn't matter. If you live based on the time now versus the time you want it to be, then you miss the time between now and when that future time gets here. That's time you've lost forever.

I guess the answer to my own question is what I talked about last essay Being Here Now. If I'm here now, then I'm not worried about being elsewhere at some future moment. The natural question is, what if here sucks? The answer to that is to not be in a place that sucks. Which leads to making sure you get the most out of your job, free time, commute, and so on. Each and every time you really want to be elsewhere, it's time to question where you are. Is it the right place to be in? Are you in the right mindset for being where you are? More often than not, if you're in the same place 8 hours a day, 250 days a year, you're going to get sick of it from time to time. This is natural, this is life. Embrace it, be with it, and try to make it better.

How? I don't know. I'm working all that shit out myself which is why I feel the need to write stuff like this. It's all a learning process. Identifying the highs and lows makes it easier to address. And time is one of those issues I suppose I need to take a better look at.


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