I hope you had a great Mothers Day yesterday. Mine was quiet, my youngest son and his family celebrated with me last weekend and this week they are on vacation. My eldest son and his family stopped by for a short visit, afterwards I spent some time working on the second guitar I was asked to transform and took time to pick up a book I’ve been reading called In Praise of Slowness. I never questioned how we came to allow a clock to dictate our lives, have you? According to this book it wasn’t easy to convince society to accept a life dictate by a mechanical invention.
Have you ever considered living without a clock to tell you when to wake up, prepare a meal, go to sleep, or any of the other things in our lives that we allow time to dictate?
A few years ago, with both my boys out on their own, working from home I realized I didn’t need, or want, to follow a clock any longer. I was tired of living my life on a schedule. I got rid of all the clocks in the house, with the exception of the ones on the phone and computer. I learned rather quickly that I could figure roughly what time it was by the angle and brilliance of light coming in the windows.
I began to eat only when I was hungry, or instinctively, and when to wake by the same light. I am more rested and healthier as a result.
The act of ridding myself of the clocks in each room was an important first step in slowing my life and taking control. I find I get much more enjoyment from the activities I pursue by allowing myself to work until I am ready to walk away. No longer do I keep glancing at the clock telling myself I need to hurry because its time to prepare dinner, or some other activity I believed I needed to perform at a specific time.
“He who has set his heart exclusively upon the pursuit of worldly welfare is always in a hurry, for he has but a limited time at his disposal to reach, grasp, and to enjoy it”. Alex de Tocqueville said this about our need to shop.
When we want all the material belongings society wants us to believe we need we find ourselves hurrying through life, to shop we need to work more. We are over scheduled and rushed. Is it no wonder people report being less happy today than past generations did?
This quote from the book stood out for me “How much,if any, material wealth will we have to sacrifice, individually and collectively, in order to live slow.”. In pondering this comment I again came to the same conclusions. Living a slower life has been much more rewarding than life scheduled to the hilt, running from work to the next obligation left me so over tired even a good night’s sleep was hard to achieve.
I want to leave you with something that made me smile knowing the next generation may be smarter than we were. My granddaughter began a conversation with me about growing up. She then asked if I knew what she wanted to do when she grew up. I noticed she said “do”, not “be”. Her answer was “I want to paint, grow flowers, grow a garden of my food, and bake lots of cakes and cupcakes”. First, I had to laugh because while she loves working in a kitchen and has convinced her parents to allow her to watch Betty Crocker baking videos on YouTube she doesn’t like to eat cake.
I couldn’t help smiling because I hope whether it’s these specific activities or other she may eventually enjoy, I want the very same for her, a life filled with the activities she enjoys and the time to pursue them, hopefully without the guilt we feel when that clock tells us we should be doing something else less rewarding.
Is your life still managed by a clock?