It’s appropriate that this post is about time.
For about a week, the chorus in this part of the Western Hemisphere has been complaining about Daylight Saving Time, the time management system that, in most US states, takes an hour from spring and adds it to fall. The goal is to lengthen the amount of daytime sunlight we experience in spring and summer evenings and in fall and winter mornings.
Since my first few years in the UK, I’ve heard the seasonal time shift credited to farmers and the demands of energy conservation. Though legislators may have intended this policy to advantage people, I’m now learning that the old explanations aren’t valid.
The afternoon before the clocks ticked forward, I spent three hours in a room of people I didn’t know and a workshop facilitator who mashes up Buddhism, Taoism, martial arts, and nonviolent communication.
“There are 1,440 minutes in a day,” he said toward the end of the session. “How many of them do you spend on self-care?”
To structure the 1,440 minutes I have every day, I need to make choices about my values and priorities. I don’t even have to choose consciously: I already am choosing as soon as I decide I’m getting out of bed and staying out until 17 or 18 hours later.
1,440 minutes: the time available to me. It goes to eating, dressing, commuting, working, running meetings, drinking tea, answering email, texting, reading, walking around 8 million other New York City residents; and often before I’m ready, those minutes are gone.
I was trained to give at least 10% of my money, but our lessons weren’t that specific about time. If I tithed my time to the same degree that would mean almost two and a half hours!
It feels like a complete luxury to experience two and a half hours without interruptions, and so I can understand why the facilitator asked us about one minute. Even fifteen minutes is just over 1% of 24 hours, and many people struggle to allow themselves that one percent.
What matters most might not be the hour we lose and gain and lose and gain year after year. What matters most might be the hours we lose because we allow them to tick past us and don’t count them in minutes.