Two years ago, I stopped wearing a watch and replaced it with a bracelet that reads "Be Here Now.”
One of my personal resolutions over the past couple of years has been to work on being present and aware in my daily life. Far too often I found myself in the middle of a task I wasn't focused on, instead my mind was running through a ticker tape of all the stuff I need to do next. I realized I was missing out on the joy in experiences because I simply couldn't sit still and enjoy them.
On a recent evening, as my other half was considering some pre-dinner preparations, he asked me "Do we have time for this? About an hour and a half?" I looked up from what I was reading to reply "Sure. We've got all the time in the world. We're not on a schedule." With one eyebrow raised, he asked "Who is this new Ramona?"
He's justified in being surprised at my laxidazical attitude toward time. A year or two ago, I would have been stressed about the fact that it was "dinner time." For the majority of my life, I've clung to beliefs that certain things need to be done at certain times. That's how I was raised. Thanks to having a mom who always had me arrive an embarrassing thirty minutes early for any school or social function, I'd come to believe that promptness was a life or death issue. If you're going to be late, you might as well not show up at all.
As I grew up, I saw that not everyone held that belief as firmly as my mother and I did. Sure, it's understood that one should try to be on time for a commitment but that's generally about as far as it goes. I had professors who were always late, then worked for bosses who couldn’t show up on time. There was a time when I thought less of those people; You expect me to be on time but you can't be? I begrudgingly thought to myself. I started to realize that actually no, those people didn't put any expectations on me, I was putting them on myself. Sure, you can't be chronically late to work or there are consequences (usually) but occasionally, it happens. The alarm doesn't go off (or-gasp-you fall asleep without setting it), you get stuck in traffic or the roads are icy or any number of hinderances that lurk between Point A and Point B. Still, I held tightly to my belief that I had to be on time and if the people around me cared about me and my selves, they would be on time too.
Then I moved to Montana.
On multiple occasions, I've gotten behind a car with a bumper sticker that asks "Did you move here to be in a hurry?" Well...I guess the answer is no...
Montana slowed me down. A lot. Maybe it's the open space and the long distances between towns. Maybe it's the mountains, the fresh air, and/or the outdoorsy lifestyles but people who live in Montana have a different energy than people in the rest of the country.
I moved to Bozeman eight years ago, after living in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina for close to a decade. I liked it there but headed West after my divroce, in search of a fresh start closer to my personal support system. After only a couple of weeks in my new home, it occurred to me just now welcome my lifestyle change was; No more daily commutes on the belt line in rush hour traffic, no hour long waits at the grocery store check out, and I felt safe walking my dog alone in the evenings.
I glance at my bracelet when I need reassurance. When I’m feeling anxious, or rushed or uncomfortable, I look at the blocky letters to remind me to take a deep breath (I’m considering getting a second bracelet that reads “Just Breathe”) and stay with whatever situation and emotion I’m facing.
Even after two years, I still occasionally look at my wrist when I want to know what time it is. It’s still a reflex after decades of wearing a watch, I suppose. And while there are certainly times when I genuinely do need to know what time it is, I’ve realized most of the time it doesn’t actually matter. And when it does matter, like for work, there's a clock I can look at, or I can always check my phone.
The result of my lacking a time piece constantly attached to my body is that I now “run behind” more than I ever have in my life. *GASP* And I’m still alive, still cruising along just fine.
Sure, it’s stressful to me at times. I still believe that being on time proves your dedication to the task at hand and I don’t want to be late. But sometimes it happens. It doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t mean I’m giving the finger to the person I’m supposed to meet. Sometimes I just don’t get there exactly when I said I would.
I’ve come to realize I was a slave to time for the majority of my life. Now, I’m likely to text a friend to say I’m running behind or ask to push dinner back by 30 minutes so I’m not rushing around like a maniac.
I’ve learned that my time is valuable and precious. I’ve only got so much of it each day. I want to enjoy what I’m doing when I’m doing it and spend less time in the future or the past.
How do you feel about time? Do you wear a watch? If so why or why not. I’d love to know!