Today I re-ignited my relationship with wristwatches. 10 years ago I stopped wearing one, after becoming acutely aware that I felt pressured and stressed by the accountability toward time.
What time is it? Where do I have to be now? Do I have time for this? Sometimes I would find myself checking the time simply to know what time it was. I felt immensely liberated when I put my watch in the bathroom drawer while saying, “you aren’t the boss of me”.
In these last 10 years, I have gained the skills to perceive time as a fact, rather than an obligation: a marker to which I am not necessary accountable. I have also tuned my internal timepiece, so I can track the passage of time without a watch–except when I can’t.
So, when I can’t track time, how do I check the time? I pull out my cell phone. In many ways, that sucks me into a tool that has the great gift of distraction and disconnection. Not to mention, I despise carrying my phone, just so I can track time when necessary.
Here’s the other thing I have noticed, and I’ll pose it as a question. Have you ever picked up your phone to check the time, while in conversation with someone, and noticed what happened? I have, and in my experience, that tiny electro-gadget has the power to sever connections quicker than a guillotine. Maybe it makes people wonder:
What is she doing?
Is she checking her email?
What is so important over there?
Am I boring her?
What’s more important than what we are doing?
So if any of these thoughts go through the mind of my chat companion, then I have some adjustments to make. I stopped wearing a watch to increase my connection to the present moment, and one of the side effects is possibly severing connections moment-to-moment with my people.
So I used to look at my watch and see pressure and accountability. As of today, I vow to look at my watch and see conscious connection.
So today, I re-embrace the wristwatch. Sometimes it is necessary to mind time, and I can do it much easier if the watch is right next to my hand that I am holding yours with. Don’t worry, I won’t let go.