It seems that our lives are inadvertently controlled by time. From waking up, having breakfast, working, and leisure, we’re constantly in the claws of it – if we eat at a certain time, it’s called breakfast. In order to deal with the ‘untimeliness’ of eating between breakfast and lunch, we’ve invented brunch. If we decide to watch a movie at 11 o’clock on a Tuesday morning, we feel lazy because greater society tells us that this is the time we should be working. And if we feel the pressure of getting something done, it’s that nagging little minute-timer that tells us to work harder, run faster, or do more at the same time. So, for one day, I decided to rid myself of this pressure and say no to time.
I woke up on that particular day – beautiful, clear, and sunny – after what seemed to me like an eternity of lazing around in bed. It could’ve been 3 o’clock in the afternoon, 9 o’clock in the morning, or anywhere in between. I had no idea. Determined not to bother stressing myself out at how late or early it was, I didn’t even look at a clock and avoided my cellphone. So, I got up leisurely and made the longest breakfast of my life, complete with freshly-brewed coffee, freshly-squeezed orange juice, fruit salad, and a hearty scrambled egg meal, taking my time with the preparations, enjoying the actual breakfast, and doing a thorough kitchen-clean afterwards. Maybe an hour had passed. Maybe three. I didn’t care, and decided to pass the rest of my day in the same fashion – doing whatever it was that I was doing for as long as I felt like it, and not once looking at that little ticking device. And so my day passed quite leisurely. I knew when the late afternoon had approached as the sun had changed and the air had gotten a little cooler, and I went out for a long walk to enjoy the city. I stopped by a few stores, some open, some closed, and not knowing their respective opening and closing times, continued on my blissful time-free journey until the sun set.
That day was one of the most peaceful days I have ever experienced. There was no pressure, no ‘do this, do that, hurry up, get more done’. It was just life, simple, wonderful, and joyous. And I think that’s the way it’s meant to be. We’ve given time such power, it haunts us, killing our joy of life and even our productivity. For me, at least, though I’m sure there are people not as governed by time as I am. I also realise that it’s impossible to live without a sense of time at all – our modern society would fall apart if everyone just decided to live according to their own rhythm and disregard the system. But, there is a certain sense of calm and ease that can be achieved even while living within a system controlled by time. For example, I now make a point of hiding the clock on my computer so that I’m not constantly looking down to it and feeling the pressure to work harder or being shocked at how fast (or slowly) time has passed. And, my productivity has increased dramatically, while the pressure to achieve something within a certain time period has largely subsided.
So, try it, maybe by avoiding the clock for a few hours in the morning while making breakfast or sticking tape over your computer clock while working, and see how your life changes. I find it very freeing, and I certainly hope that I can learn to implement this time-free attitude more permanently.