Last week I lost my watch. Time management has never been my strong point, so I wear my watch all the time. I have learned to cope with my natural ADHD disregard for time with structure, as I have found that a tight schedule helps me to keep up with modern society and its obsession for things like meetings, calendar invites, blackberries, etc. A girl I work with this weekend went to a bridal shower party to begin to plan the bridal shower party. A party to plan another party. Hm. At least they’re partying right? Anyway that’s beside the point.
When I lost my watch, the first day it felt weird. I felt a little off. I was late leaving in the morning because I was looking for it, then when I was going down the stairs to my car my purse broke, contents spilling everywhere. After I had gathered my things and made it to my car, I went to take a sip of chocolate milk out of my red solo cup (yes, this was at 6:30 am – don’t ask, I don’t know why that was even happening either), only to spill it all down the front of one of my cutest green dresses. Oh yeah, and then when I tried to button my sweater to see if I could hide the spill, I realized that I had worn the exact same sweater to work the day before. Oops. Did all of this happen because I lost my watch? No. Is there a point to me telling you all of this? Not really. I just think it’s funny to share some of the little bits of daily life that make it so humorous. That day, even though I felt slightly off, I was able to laugh really hard about the ridiculous situation. One of my coworkers even compared me to her kids (who are around 2-4 years old). She has a hard time getting her munchkins to daycare in the morning, as they are usually drinking chocolate milk and spilling things everywhere too. So to sum up: basically I behave like someone two decades younger than my actual age. I’m happy with it.
An actual real lesson that I learned from losing my watch is how many times a day I look at it. This morning after practice I thought about that and wondered if I am addicted to time. By this I mean not addicted to actual time, but rather to knowing the time. Have I become so scheduled, that I am literally always thinking of where I am currently in relation to my plan for the rest of the day? I am definitely not alone in this. Most of the people I know keep pretty tightly jam-packed calendars. We all have so many obligations and places to be, we even need to pencil in relaxation time so that we don’t all lose our sanity. There is nothing wrong with this. A little organization and scheduling, perhaps beginning as a coping mechanism, helps me to show up to things and hold myself accountable. However, what I’m realizing is there’s a fine line between staying true to your obligations and falling into the trap of calendar addiction.
Calendar addiction is a phrase I just made up for when a person is obsessed with needing to know the time to the point where it can take them out of the present moment. It is possible to stay both aware of time and present simultaneously. It’s just more difficult. Start to pay attention to what thoughts come to mind next time you look at your watch. For me, it’s usually, “ok, it’s 2:50 now, that means two more hours until I have to leave for Dave’s SuperBowl party, and I still have to do xyz to get myself ready to go.” That normally brings up thoughts about the xyz, how much time it will take, etc. Sometimes a few minutes of this insane internal mind-scheduling can go by before I remember, oh wait, I’m writing a blog about being addicted to my schedule right now.
Calendar addiction shows up on my mat (like everything does at some point). Luckily for me, the studio where I practice regularly got rid of their clocks. It has done wonders for my practice, as I am no longer checking the time, even just out of curiosity, because I literally cannot. I have grown to love the feeling of getting lost in a class, no regard for what time it is, just moving and flowing. When class is over and I’m laying on my mat, it feels like ages ago yet also seconds ago that class began. I’m sure you have felt this way too before, maybe from a vacation, when you get lost in a really good book, or at your favorite concert.
Even without clocks, lately I’ve noticed another way calendar addiction has snuck into my practice: wheel pose and the beloved teacher countdown. I often tell myself “you can do anything for 10 breaths” when the teacher gets to that 10-9-8 part. This little mantra helps motivate me for the extra push when I’m feeling really effing tired and don’t want to take full wheel. So there is definitely a plus side to my calendar addiction. However, what if I just went up to wheel without knowing how long I was going to be there, and stayed without feeling like I need it to be timed?
In my experience, when I let go of my schedule and allow myself to be in the moment, that is usually when my own natural creative process opens up. Case in point: I began writing this blog with the intention of writing about the benefit of static holds. Turns out that’s not where I was headed for right now. And that works for me. It means dropping my agenda and allowing myself to just flow. There will be plenty of time for me to write about static stretching. Right now, overcoming calendar addiction is where I’m at.