Tuesday, November 8, 2016

On Excellent Use of the Annual Temporal Windfall (or: Why Did I Waste the Extra Hour on Saturday night?!)

You can get more of just about anything.  You can get more stuff.  You can get more money.  You can get more influence.  You can get better health.  I mean, you probably can't get as much as you'd like, but you can definitely get more...one way or another.  If it's really important to you.  Legally or perhaps illegally, for better or in many cases for worse, you can get more.

Except time.  You can't get more time.  The clock is always running.  Tick, tick, tick.  While you're reading these words, tick, tick.  While you sleep, tick, tick.  While you get ready for the day, tick, tick.  Each second is a second you will never have to live again.  Did you watch Sharknado?  That's 86 minutes you'll never be able to get back.  Tick, tick, tick.  Did you watch all four of them?  360 minutes.  Add another 83 minutes if you watched the mockumentary about David Moore, the Heart of Sharkness.  Shoot, add about 30 seconds if you've read this whole paragraph about the Sharknado madness.  I'm already regretting the 5 minutes it has taken me to look up how long those things ran and type it into this post as well as the approximately 45 seconds I've spent thinking about the irony of writing about Sharknado while wearing my Myrtle Beach tshirt.  Tick, tick, tick.

I once made a telling of the clown joke take 25 minutes.  Tick, tick tick.  [If you don't know it, I'll be happy to tell you, though I've lately come to prefer a different version.]

Well, maybe you can get more time after all.  If you live in the right place.  We just did last Sunday morning.  A whole hour.  Bonus!  You've heard it said there are only 24 hours in a day, but I tell you one day each year, right here in River City, there are 25 hours.  Tick, tick, tick.  Don't spend it all in one place!

You probably did.  I know I did.  The question is this: what did you do with your extra hour?  Most people I know said they wanted to use that hour to catch up on some sleep...but after the fact most say they did something else with the hour after all.  Almost nobody I know gave serious, intentional thought to how they would invest such a precious--even priceless--commodity.

I think they schedule the change to occur at 1am because the idea is most people are sleeping at that point.  They're thinking we'll all take the hour of sleep.  But how many of us really do?  My very scientific poll (asking a couple of people and listening to their stories) says not very many.

How you choose to spend the temporal windfall each fall says something about what you value, and honestly I'm not sure I like the way I spent it this year.  I used it to catch up on some work.  Don't get me wrong, it's a perfectly worthy cause.  I was preparing music for our children's musical Not Your Average Joe, which you really need to catch this Wednesday evening at 6:30pm.  Still, it was work.  I have a family I miss two nights a week for work.  I'm fighting off a little cold (or trying to...I'm losing at the moment).  I could use a little more sleep because of how this season has shaped up.  Many times in the past few weeks I've wished for an extra hour or two, but when that wish was granted I used it for work.

Now you and I both know that this hour we've been gifted isn't really for keeps, right?  It's more of a temporal loan than a temporal windfall, really.  When spring comes, daylight time is going to very rudely recall the loan, and our hour surplus will become an hour deficit.

Leading me to wonder this: when your day has only 23 hours instead of 24, what suffers?  Again, if you are sleeping at 1am, you gain an hour of sleep and you lose an hour.  The net effect is that you've not wasted any time...just moved it oddly from one season to another.  But I don't use the hour for sleep.  And when Spring revokes the hour, I'll still get all my work done.  It's likely I'll just lose the hour of sleep in the Spring.  I think that's what most folks do.

That's a raw deal, man.  I effectively traded an hour of work for an hour of sleep.  Worst of all, I don't like what this unconscious decision says about my real values (as opposed to my ideal values...I'll write a followup post about values later and explain what I mean).

So when springtime comes, I'm going to be intentional about what I sacrifice on the altar of Daylight Savings Time.  And when fall comes again, I'm going to be more intentional about what I do with my hour.  Even if the best I can muster is sleeping through all of it, that's better than making an unfair trade!

How did you use your hour?  1000 points for the best story in the comments below.  How do you wish you would have used your hour?  1000 points for the best idea in the comments below.  What are you going to give up in the Spring when you lose your hour?  1000 points for the best idea in the comments below, and 1,000,000 points if you actually follow through with yours!

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