Our lives are dictated to by time. From the moment our alarm gives us our first fright of the day at some ungodly hour in the morning, to the moment we set it before we go to bed at night, we are living our day by the clock.
When our kids were at the school-going age, the morning was one big race with time…from reluctantly waking them up from their warm beds, to getting them dressed, trying to get them to digest whatever nutritious breakfast I had concocted, getting myself ready at the same time and then everyone into the car to head out at the time you have in your head where you know you will miss most of the traffic. You know that if you leave 5 minutes later it will be a nightmare, so you watch that clock closely during that hour of chaos each morning. My day was then a routine of meetings, deadlines, more meetings, adding more meetings into my calendar by which I live by religiously, fetching kids, homework, getting to that gym class which was not going to wait for me, cooking dinner and ensuring the kids got to bed at a certain time so we could repeat the whole thing again tomorrow.
We have become slaves to time. That’s just how our society works. There are millions of articles, workshops and books on time management, trying to eek out even more hours within the limited time we have already. And then before you know it, your children have left home, you are nearing that retirement date and your friends are suddenly looking much older than you are! Where did the time go when you were watching it so closely?
Have you noticed how freeing it is when you are on holiday and are able to take your watch off and not live by all those deadlines?
Your body gets into its own natural rhythm of when to wake, eat and sleep. And we’re lucky if we can do this for 3 weeks every year! For the past 5 months, while sailing in the Med with my husband on our yacht, I have had the luxury of being relatively free from the shackles of time. I have not worn a watch or set one alarm. I wake when I’ve had enough sleep, eat when I’m hungry, which often means only 2 meals a day and exercise when I feel like it, as swimming has become my main form of exercise while onboard and can be done at any time of the day, despite the heat.
I do have conference calls at certain times as we are still involved in running our business, but I have tended to let the office know what time suits me best, rather being held to a specific date and time to speak to them. Knowing that I have the flexibility to do it in my own time has been very liberating as I’m not having to look at the clock continuously. Living like this for an extended period of time has been one of the most eye opening things for me over the past 5 months. I cannot believe how amazing it feels to live without being dictated to by time.
What usually happens when you let your body be free of time is that it follows its own natural internal clock. I tend to do things later in the day, only eating around midday after I’ve woken up, done a meditation, journaled, had a coffee and done some exercise. Because of the late sunset in the Med in summer, as well as the heat, we only eat dinner much later than we would at home and go to bed when we are tired.
I know this is not a normal life. We do have to live by the clock to live in the mainstream world, but it’s liberating to be able to do it once in a while. If we could somehow build this into our life a bit more, I think we would be a lot less anxious and stressed.
Don’t wait until you’re retired to feel the exhilaration of being in charge of your own time. Next time you are on holiday or have a long weekend (or maybe every weekend), take off your watch, put your phone away and free yourself from the shackles of time…