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How My Watch Frees Me From Time

Time and I Don’t Get Along. Some might deduce from this aspect of my life that no one ever taught me how to tell time. Actually, my first-grade teacher taught me. It was a slow process. I wasn’t her favorite. As an adult, I’m expected to tell time regularly. The problem is, it always feels like Time is telling me something.

I struggle with the very concept. It’s manmade, theoretical, and I always seem to get screwed by it. No matter how I plan, there’s never enough of it. A lot of people wish they had more time, but I’m convinced time sneaks up on me more aggressively than most. 

Have you ever noticed the people who are religiously “on time” are those who have been subjected to a loved one’s misunderstanding of the concept? My mother-in-law, for example, whose father made her late her entire childhood. My husband was raised to believe that being on time is paramount but made the mistake of marrying me. I believe I can get seven minutes out of every five, and every 20 minutes feel like 3. 

My mother, who is 65, just told me that she’s finally learned the secret to being on time: allow yourself a fifteen-minute cushion. Because something always happens. Always. A friend of hers had to teach her this, and I think it still took her months to internalize it. 

I’m convinced my father subconsciously sees being late as an act of rebellion. A power-play if you will. He feels his time is overcommitted, and only he can determine when it’s necessary to borrow a little here or there. As you may imagine, my habitual tardiness sets them off. Perhaps I remind them of themselves. What could be more annoying?!

Ironically, as my responsibilities grow and my time flies away more rapidly with every passing day, I’ve come to see wearing a watch as a luxury. I mean, I only wear one when I need not worry about how quickly or slowly time is passing… long dinners, vacations, family get togethers. But why? It’s my smartphone that does all the work of getting me where I need to be and getting me to do the things I need to do. Putting on my watch signifies that my smartphone is getting left behind… and that I’m no longer beholden to the demands of time. 

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