What day is it today?

When was the last time you asked the question or wondered what day it was?  It’s kind of a weird but in a way fun experience to totally lose track of the day it is.  For a minute, it is like “who am I and where am I.”  You feel disoriented and like you are out of sync with reality.  I would bet that for many of you, the last time this happened was when you were on vacation.  Many of us put our schedules away when we go on a vacation and we lose track of time.  It is a very exhilarating experience and one that is all too soon over.  For a brief instant, we are truly living in the moment and not worried about tomorrow and the problems of the future. The present has become sufficient unto itself.  
Sometimes you can lose track of the day for a longer period of time that just a few brief moments. I have been up to the Boundary Waters canoeing on three different occasions.  There was no email, cell phones, TV or newspapers where I went.  It took about three days and all of a sudden, I realized that I was not sure what day it was anymore.  Was today Sunday or Wednesday?  There was nothing in the trees or waters or sky that shouted out “Hey stupid, its 2 PM on Tuesday 2012 the month of May.”  No cosmic clocks, no beeping cell phone, no one saying “it’s time to get up, it’s time to go to school, it’s time to go to work, it’s time to go home.”  Each moment was the only time that existed.   It was either time to paddle, to eat, to camp, to fish or to portage.  One step at a time, one paddle at a time that was all it took to get through the day.  No one telling you, “it’s time to go.”  We paddled, swam, and ate just when we felt like it. 
Anyone writing a blog on time is someone whom you should suspect of either being a recovering “Time- aholic” or someone who needs to recover from being a “time-aholic.”  A time-aholic is someone who is addicted to time.  They must be on time, up on time, down on time, right on time, aware of the time, ready to go on time, there on time, done on time, start on time, know the time and of course never without the time.  They are so concerned with time that it governs their whole life. Like an addict on crack or some other drug, they can’t live without time and they mark the time between their fixes.  The time fix is getting done on time or starting on time.  A high awaits the time-aholic when they are rewarded with a new schedule or a new time goal.  Schedules and commitments are like a pure drug for the time junkie.  What would life be without time?  What would life be without goals and deadlines? 
How interesting that while I confess, I probably have been and maybe still am a time-aholic, I would guess this fits many of my readers as well.  It is interesting to speculate on whether this addiction stops when you retire.  If you think it does, you should read my blog on retirement.  I note that most retired people I know are now busier than when they are working.  The addiction does not quit just because you go on vacation or even when you retire.  The addiction is something that you must kick like you would any other bad habit. Many retirees simply adopt a new set of habits to slake their time addiction. Instead of running to work each day, they run to the golf course, or run to their bridge club or some other scheduled activity.  Try kicking a fixed schedule and see how long you can go without a time deadline or a scheduled appointment?  If you are like me, it might be a day or two and then you will need your fix.  “Oh, for a good appointment or someplace I need to be on time.” 
Being a time-aholic is perhaps a rather harmless addiction, but perhaps not.  Maybe we would all be happier without so much time in our lives.  We long for retirement and perhaps it is because we need to get off the clock.  We would like to kick the habit and we think that retirement will allow us to do this.  We delude ourselves into forgetting the real reason that we are addicted in the first place.  Ask yourself this question: “What is the essence of any addiction.”   I believe that if you can honestly answer this question, you would find the answer (as with any drug addiction), is that we would rather not live with ourselves as we are, so we substitute other things to fill our lives up with.  We do drugs or “time” to take our minds off of the present reality.  We don’t want to know who we are.  The addiction with time prevents us from really knowing ourselves since we are so busy with external stuff that we don’t have to just ever take the time to look inside. We don’t take the time to live with ourselves in the present (My apologies to those of you who meditate).  
How many schedules, meetings or appointments are you running off to today?  Do you feel better surrounded by appointments and deadlines? What does it take for you to get off the clock? When was the last time you forgot what day it was?  What was that like for you?  What if you spent one day a week without any appointments or time demands?  Is it possible?  Do you ever meditate?   

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bruce Galbreath
    May 14, 2012 @ 17:15:51

    The essence of any addiction is that we would rather not live with ourselves as we are, so we substitute other things to fill our lives up with.

    There's an argument to be made that, without other things, we cease to be. Place a person in solitary confinement or into sensory deprivation, and personhood itself disintegrates. I don't think the argument holds, at least not in all cases. For many, turning away from the world, from “other things” doesn't reveal nothingness or confusion, but a seeming access to something solid underlying the passing tides of “other things”.

    At a less metaphysical level, while I have long had an acute sense of what time it is, I have also managed to operate largely free from meaningful deadlines and have very few formal appointments. It's been idyllic, in a way, to be spared from pressures to produce, but that's a two edged sword if you wind up being a lot less productive. The truly wise and self controlled man would be a self-starter, doing what he did independently of the influence of “other things”. There may be such paragons, for all I know.

    So I wind up wondering whether our “addictions” do not, if fact, largely constitute who we are. If so, if they are on the inside of the envelope, then they may contribute to our being defective, bad, sad, or contemptible in various ways, but they can't get into conflict with “ourselves as we are”. It's only if there is a True Self, a Better Self that is the real me or my true potential or something that the opposition that you identify as the root of addiction can get going.

    Reply

  2. John Persico
    May 15, 2012 @ 14:11:22

    You may be lucky Bruce, how much productivity can you take with you to your grave? Who will care about your productivity when you die? Was Buddha or Christ remembered for their productivity. I do believe we all have a better self.

    Reply

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