March 11, 2015
It shouldn’t matter to me anymore. I mean, it’s not as if I have to go to a job every day, working 40 hours a week, punching in and punching out. It’s not as if free time is at a premium, like it was fifteen years ago when I was working that 40 hour work week.
Filling my mind with all the logical reasons why it shouldn’t matter now, however, doesn’t change a thing. I still resent that “spring forward” advancing of the clocks we all endured early Sunday morning. We went from 1:59am to 3:00am in sixty seconds, flat. Poor 2:00 am and the fifty-nine minutes following it never got a chance to exist.
And I want my hour of sleep back.
I’m always a little messed up—more than usual, that is—when we move the clocks forward. I do recall when I was working outside the home, how those first several days felt strange because all of a sudden, the sun that had been beginning to rise as I drove my beloved and I to work in the morning was gone. Of course, it was nice not to be coming home in the dark. Still, taking that bit of sunlight from the beginning of our day and tacking it on the end never did seem right to me.
Conversely, it was jarring how, when we finally got that hour back, it meant the beginning of that long stretch of both going to work and coming home in the dark. David didn’t mind that so much, as he has always worked outside. But at one point in my working life, I toiled away in an office with no windows. It was always a horrible few months, feeling like we dwelled in the land of the midnight sun.
But I’m not that working person anymore. Here I am now, living the dream, able to go for a nap whenever I need to, and often if I just want to, and yet the disruption to my “normal” daily cycle is still quite noticeable.
My personal belief is that this happens—and to more people than just to me—because we’re still tied to the rhythms of the planet. In the totality of human existence, we’ve had artificial means of telling time for a very short period, really. We devised sundials, as a means of helping us regulate our time fairly soon out of the gate. But even sundials can be considered natural as they depend upon the sun. Of course, they did have one major problem: a sundial wasn’t much use on an overcast day.
We are still a part of nature, whether we like to admit it or not. And as a part of nature, our bodies respond to the natural environment, and especially the light—to regulate our circadian rhythm—our 24 hour cycle. Those who study such things report that it generally takes a day per hour of time change for a person to fully adjust—and this is something that applies not only to the change to daylight savings time but to changing time via travel. Yes, the difficulty I’ve had adjusting to the spring change is in fact a form of jet lag.
The worst part of the process for me happens when we don’t get all the clocks in the house moved ahead. Of course, the computer and the box from the cable company, and our cell phones all change without our assistance. Big Brother does that for us.
But we actually have battery operated clocks in our house—two of them—as well as a clocks on the stove and the microwave. This year, the clock in my office was somehow missed. So there I was on Sunday night, thinking I was doing well, getting ready to wrap up my day, and it was not even eleven at night yet! And then I realized the clock on the wall—which I tend to look at more than the “clock” on the bottom right of my computer screen—was wrong.
I was up past my bedtime, and maybe I was more tired than I realized because then and there I came up with a new adage all by myself.
A broken clock may be right at least twice a day, but a clock not moved forward is forever chasing the moment.