Retro alarm clockMy husband never sets an alarm to wake him for the work day, and somehow he gets up with enough time to spare.

Me, on the other hand, I lift out of bed with a start, once my alarm beckons. I can’t leave it to chance, worried I won’t wake in time. Dan never worries. He simply lets life unfold, and it always does.

Time is a funny thing. William Shakespeare said, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” I must say, I subscribe to this notion. There is little I despise more than chronic tardiness.

That is an indication that the person waiting, or the event, is simply not important enough. That the person arriving is more important than anyone and anything else. They can wait. He can slide in like a ghost in a graveyard, gracing those waiting with his sought-after presence.

It’s arrogant, to make people wait, to think you are above parameters or boundaries or time. It is unkind.

It's ALWAYS the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s ALWAYS the most wonderful time of the year.

The older I get, the more fleeting time becomes. It really does pass quickly, flowing from one event into another. I wait for something big, something important, and suddenly it is here and as I move through it, have the experience, the long-waited-for experience, I realize it will end soon and it will be a memory.

That’s how life unfolds. Time marches on, whether we enjoy our lives or hate them. Time waits for no one. Time unfolds as it will, ignorant of expectation or desire.

Steve Jobs said, “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”

On days when I don’t have to wake children from peaceful slumber, when I don’t have to make lunches or shuttle four kids to four schools, I don’t set my alarm.

I don’t sleep into the morning. I don’t languish in bed.

No, I rise peacefully, happily, whether the day is already light or if dawn has yet to arrive. I open my eyes, realize my wakeful state, stretch my limbs and ponder whether I will get out of the comfort of my soft bed at that moment or wait.

Usually, I decide that my awakening is the perfect time to rise and start my day. And, I notice, the time is somewhere near when my alarm would have buzzed suddenly, with a start.

Yes, my internal clock knows when to wake, just like my husband’s does. The difference is, he chooses to trust his instinct to wake him when the time is right, whereas I worry that I’ll oversleep.

The difference is large. It is a shift of perspective, of awareness, of reckoning with the realities of life.

Peneda-Geres National ParkWhat would happen if I woke later than I wanted to? I’d rush a little, but ultimately, the day would begin and the appointments on my calendar would be kept in due time.

Think of what a difference it would be if we all let our internal clocks propel us through our days! Think of the hope and peace, the satisfaction and trust, that would permeate all of our interactions, all of our tasks.

Curious, then, that this is not the way we live.

There are times late in the night when I glance over at the ever-present clock, and gasp when I notice the late hour. How could this much time have passed? How long will I have to sleep? And other rumination course through my head as I work it all up into an impenetrable fog.

We created time. We boxed ourselves in to increments and boundaries.

Think about it. Animals lope along, fulfilling their needs, in perfect sync with the night and the day, with their nature, with their purpose. There is no pondering. There is no questioning.

But we. We humans who believe we have superiority, who believe we are a cut above the other creatures on this planet, we are the ones dying softly from the boxes we’ve put ourselves into.

What is the answer, then? How are we to fix our plight and free ourselves from our own ticking time bomb?

The only answer, I believe, is to give in to our natures and banish the false formulas of our lives.

Live according to nature, with the seasons, in harmony with the sun and the moon. Take to the wooded paths, breathe in the air redolent with recent rain. Notice the sunrise and leap toward it, just as we calm and quieten as the sun sinks below the horizon line.

This artificial round-the-clock schedule benefits no one. Let’s see if we can live the way we’re meant to.

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