by Donna Andrews
Here we go again. Daylight savings time. Raise your hand if you’ve set your clocks forward.
Really? ALL your clocks? The one in the spare bedroom? The one in the microwave? The one on your car’s dashboard? I just did a quick count of things in my house that are clocks or have clocks in them, and came up with fourteen. And I've probably missed a few.
Fortunately the clocks I pay the most attention to--the computer clocks, the DVR clock, and the one in my iPhone--sync automatically. But it could be days before I find and set all the rest. Weeks. Heck, I think I skipped a few this past fall.
Still, I'm a lot less stressed by the spring forward than I used to be. That's partly because I no longer have a day job with a boss who will frown if I straggle in an hour late on the Monday after the time change. It's not just the getting up earlier that's hard--in fact, the biggest problem for me used to be getting to bed earlier, since I'm a nightowl and an insomniac at the best of times. I still remember those miserable nights when I'd toss and turn, muttering, "I have to go to sleep NOW! I have to get up an hour earlier!" Why does knowing you need to go the sleep make doing it so much harder?
But these days, no one's watching the clock to see when I arrive at my computer. As long as I get my word count done so I can turn my books in on time, my publisher could care less whether I do my writing during the work day or in the wee small hours. Which means I can make a much more gradual adjustment to the time change.
And I can stop being stressed about "losing" an hour. Back when I had a day job, I struggled every day to carve out the time to write. A crisis at work that forced me to stay overtime, a traffic jam on the way home, even a messy spill in the kitchen--there were times I begrudged anything that ate up my all-too-scarce writing time. The spring forward ate up yet another hour, and the thought that I'd be getting that hour back in the fall didn't comfort me, because there was no guarantee something else wouldn't eat up that extra hour in the fall.
I'm happier now that I measure my writing time in days and weeks rather than hours.
Although I still do tend to make excuses for myself this time of year. I didn't get that done today--I had a whole hour less! In fact, for the next week or so, I'll blame the time shift any time I'm too late or dreadfully early; any time I have trouble sleeping or waking up; and any time I fail to complete everything on my over-crowded to do list.
But I'll only be half-joking when I do it. At some time over the years, I learned that the hours lost here and there to traffic, to overtime, and to daylight savings time matter a lot less than the hours I myself waste or spend wisely.
Or maybe I'm just more mellow than about the time shift because I know how much my sports-loving nephew will love having that extra hour of daylight in the evening. More basket shooting! More batting practice!
So are you giving yourself a rain check on something because of the time change?