Life Lessons: Saving Time
I’ve been longing for a weekend past. Saturday, March 8, to be exact. You remember it. I know you do, even if you don’t remember doing anything special. Saturday night or Sunday morning, March 9, more accurately, at 2 a.m., we “sprang forward,” thanks to daylight saving time.
There are some issues with daylight saving time, according to the U.S. News and World Report. Of course there are the sleeping patterns that are thrown off kilter. The number of heart attacks spikes during the first week of daylight saving time. A study shows that the loss of an hour of sleep makes their bodies more susceptible to one. In 2005, apparently, Kazakhstan stopped observing daylight saving time because 51.6 percent of the people who lived in the country had negative health effects.
On the other hand, it seems that people are safer drivers when there’s more daylight in the sky. “… (R)esearchers have found that DST reduces lethal car crashes and pedestrian strikes. In fact, a study concluded that observing DST year-round would annually prevent about 195 deaths of motor vehicle occupants and about 171 pedestrian fatalities.”
The purpose for which daylight saving time was started—to save energy—is probably not effective anymore, depending on which expert you ask.
Despite the sole pro and the few cons, I still long for that hour a few weeks ago that wasn’t. At 2 a.m., clocks automatically moved to 3 a.m. What a glorious thought! Fast forwarding time.
When things in my life go beyond the point of discomfort and inch toward the realm of overwhelming, it’s not uncommon for me to catch myself saying, “I wish it was a month from now and all of this was over.” At one point when I was thinking that, though, my thoughts responded to my involuntary confession with, “Would you still learn the lesson, though?” The thought arrested me. Would I still learn the lesson? Do you still learn the lesson when you skip the test? Is it the same when someone tells you the lesson as opposed to bumping your head a few times?
The idea of skipping an hour or a month, for that matter, appeals to me even more than a new pair of brilliantly red-bottomed Christian Loubuiton pumps. And that’s saying a lot. A whole lot, as children say when they make their eyes as large as saucers and want to put significant emphasis on whatever they’re describing. The first three months of this year, my beloved brother passed away; I was in a car accident; I lost one of my closest friends (not to death, I literally lost her, she just went away … the her I knew did, at least); the relationship I was forming with my quasi-boyfriend ended abruptly because of a misunderstanding that showed that he is an emotional dwarf; the you’d-never-believe-me-even-if-I-told-you-all-the-details antics of the people I work; then there are the few pieces of baggage I tried to get rid of before last year ended but couldn’t; and that doesn’t mean that because I was dealing with those things, the everyday woes stopped.
These things have caused me heartache, distress and anxiety—all things I’m supposed to try to avoid. They’ve also strengthened my character. And beyond lessons, can more character be developed by someone merely telling you the truth about life without your “walking it out” and having to make the right decision on your own in the moment? No, probably not.
But sometimes I can’t help imagining sleeping through the storm and waking up to the sun beaming brightly on my face, a subtle breeze willing me to get up and keep going. An escape. That’s all. I sympathize with problem drinkers and drug addicts who just want the high so they can ignore the pain, worries and woes. I get it. It’s like skipping an hour. Drinking until you forget is like your personal daylight saving time that you don’t have to wait until the second week in March to get. You can get it whenever you want it, everyday if you need it. It’s the minutes and hours when waking up with the hangover that’s sobering (no pun intended), though. Not only is there a headache and nausea to contend with, but there’s the realization, no matter how long it takes to surface, that the bills still didn’t get paid and, more than likely, the bank account is still in the negative. The adulterous spouse still betrayed your trust. The 19-year-old man-child Uncle Sam took to fight in a war is still gone. The things that caused sadness to turn to depression are still staring with intimidation. But now defenses are down and your head is pounding.
The fact is, the lessons life tries to teach you will always be there, waiting to be learned. Even if you don’t get them the first, second or third time, life keeps putting them before your face, hoping this time you’ll pass the test so you can move on to something else. That’s just the way it works. It’s just the way it is.
OK. So longing to reside in the hour that wasn’t during daylight saving time is pointless, I suppose. If it’s an hour I skip or a day, life doesn’t offer an escape, just opportunities to grow.