What Time Is It?

I’ve started wearing a watch again. It was a statement of some sort when I took if off about 10 years ago, being fed up with it bossing me around. Even the name of it is a command: “Watch? Watch what? Don’t tell me what to do!”

And, it’s a statement of some sort here in 2012 now that I’ve returned the thing to my wrist.

As soon that sentence was put on the page, I knew I’d have to justify the words. The thoughts took a while to congeal, because although the re-attachment of the timing function onto my body seems like the right thing to do, I hadn’t really articulated why.

But now that it has called out to be defined, I’d say that I’m ready to engage with the world in a new way, on my own terms and in my own sense of time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the notion of “time” lately, the words ringing in my head that there really is no such thing, that time is a man-made construct invented to order our experience, that time and space are irrelevant to modern thinkers, blah blah blah. And while it all makes sense intuitively, my linear brain still wasn’t satisfied.

An epiphany came when I realized that what we call “time” is not a measurement of time, but a measurement of change. A certain number of spins around the watch or the calendar only matters if something changes; and conversely, things that are “timeless” are seemingly not affected by the forces of change.

This explains a lot! This is why even though my body has 58 sun cycles under its belt I feel, inside myself, that I’m 14. That 14-year old part of me has not changed; it is beyond the bounds of time. Maybe my soul is and always was and always will be tuned to the vibration of a 14-year old. The 96-year old woman I take to lunch twice a week says she’s 40, and I believe her.

As I’m writing these words, the battery-operated clock in my office clicks away loudly, a reminder that soon my daughter will be here to pick up the chicken and that in 3 hours a friend is coming by for dinner. These concepts help us organize our day but we’re really not moving through time, as is so comforting and sometimes agonizing to consider. In essence, we’ve created time to move through.

“Live in the moment.” “Be in the moment.” “Live in the Now.” We’ve all heard these words for many years, and yet most of us do anything but. (Say what you will, we’re very much tied to the watch, the clock and the calendar.) But now it’s clear that the practice of being aware of the present moment not only fosters an appreciation of what IS, it also allows this notion of the artificiality of “time” to emerge.

All of this makes it much easier, almost a pleasure, now, to wear a watch. I shopped around and bought myself something really pretty, something that would be a piece of jewelry, an accessory, and something that reflects my personal taste and esthetics. It is a nice feeling to have it on my sitting lightly on wrist.

It’s not like it’s keeping track of anything real.



  1. March 26, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    This is interesting, as I gave up wearing a watch about 14 years ago, when, like you, I felt the watch was taking over my life, with its constant reminder of time. Now I just don’t wear one… I feel so much freer without one, and I don’t feel like I need to rush to the next thing… or worry that I am running out of time….. and no one really notices that I dont wear one!!

  2. March 27, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    “And the times, they are a changing” !! Fun reading!!

  3. February 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    […] time, whether we like to acknowledge it or not. (For a more thorough look at the notion of change, click here to visit a past blog on the topic.)  Things which used to pull on our heart-strings can loosen […]

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