Monday, November 7, 2011

One hour, once a year

It doesn’t take young children long at all to figure out the problem with wishing every day could be your birthday: If every day were that special, then no day would be that special.

Concommitantly, it shouldn’t take me long to figure out why it doesn’t make sense to wish every day could be the end of daylight saving time, the day we set our clocks back; yet it’s a wish that sneaks furtively into my mind every year at this time.

I just find that extra hour so phenomenally helpful. The Saturday night before we set our clocks back always feels to me like the one time you can have it all….you can stay up late but still get to bed early. We weren’t doing much this particular weekend; I stayed awake on Saturday reading until 11:00, and yet just before I turned out the light I set the clock back to 10. Sunday morning, I slept as late as I wanted, and yet when I finally arose, it was only 6:20.

Most of the year, I have to make choices: go to sleep early or stay up late and read. Awaken in time to get a head start on the day or bask lazily in bed. In each case, both choices have their advantages….and their drawbacks. But on the first weekend in November, I get both. The best of all worlds. Have my cake and eat it too. Read late but get to bed early. Sleep all I want but still be up before I need to be.

And so I can’t help wishing every year that I could have this day over and over again: one extra hour. But of course, that wouldn’t really help. If each day had one extra hour, I’d fill it, and I’d still get to bed too late or not get enough reading done and not get enough sleep or stay in bed so late it made my whole day feel lazy and unproductive.

So it’s just once a year, that magical extra hour. Like a child contemplating birthdays, I remind myself each year that it’s valuable only because it’s so rare; an extra hour whenever I needed it would cease to be a luxury. Tomorrow, I’ll already be readjusted; that extra hour will have been absorbed into the fabric of the week, and I’ll be once again caught among priorities without ever feeling like I have enough time for all of them.

One extra hour, once a year. It’s a pretty good deal, if you use it well. And it’s a huge treat every time it rolls around.

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