Earlier this summer, I took my watch off. I told my friends that I didn't want a watch tan line, but it was more than that. I found myself looking at the watch too often, and was getting extremely stressed about time - and even when I really had plenty of it. During conversations, meetings, playtime, I found myself surreptitiously checking my watch for the current time - and often missing important moments.
I started wearing a watch long before cell phones (with the time displayed), computers (with the time displayed), even clocks in cars. There was a time when there wasn't a constant reminder of time everywhere one looked. Watches were very necessary (all those years ago - ha!) because there weren't reminders all around us - but I also think we weren't slaves to the exact time like we as a society are now. Even how we give time has changed! Out are the general "half past six" reports of time and in are the "six twenty-eight" reports - we now spent more time fretting about the moment than being in the moment.
By taking my watch off during the (slightly) slower summer months, I have been able to relax a little more, focus more in the moment. But that doesn't mean I am not aware of the time or am chronically late now - there are plenty of sources to check the time - but it does mean that when I am having a conversation, I am listening better and when I am hanging out and playing with the kids, I am really with them. Not wearing a watch seems to have freed me from the constraints of time while I still am very much aware of time and its passage.
My husband took off his watch several years ago for similar reasons. I didn't understand it until this summer when I took off my own watch. A watch can be a resource (or accessory) or a
distraction. When it became a distraction for me, taking it off made me appreciate time more while worrying about it less. It may seem incongruous, but it seems to work.
I am not sure this watchless life will really work during the school year, with more and disparate demands on my time. I hope, though, that the lessons of this watchless time will help me take some deeper breaths, focus more on the moment and stop wasting time by obsessing about time.
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