Monday, May 17, 2010

A Slave To The Clock

Even though I had some family obligations over the weekend, I also had a fair amount of leisure. Today during my morning walk I found myself thinking about how much my life is a slave to "the clock". A clock tells me when I must wake up. A clock tells me when I must begin work and when I can stop working. A clock tells me how long I can take a walk when I am at work. Often, especially in the afternoons while I am still in the office, I find myself constantly looking at the clock. Even when I leave my office to go pick up my wife, a clock tells me how long I have to wait until my wife's clock tells her she can stop working. A clock tells me when to go to bed. If I disobey this nighttime clock, my morning clock will be very angry. Clocks run my life and, quite frankly, I hate it. One of the reasons I love weekends is that generally I live without being a slave to the clock. I even avoid wearing my wrist watch on weekends. I wake up when I am rested, I go to bed when I am tired, and I eat when I am hungry. I think many people look forward to retirement, not to avoid work, but to throw away the clock. Few people are masters of their own time. This is why they crawl into work on Monday mornings and why they fly out the door on Friday afternoons. I don't mind doing work, especially when the work is fulfilling, has a practical purpose, and you feel a sense of accomplishment when it is completed. For most people, however, work is like a prison sentence where you are "doing time" and your primary goal is to get to the end of it so you can be released from what too often feels like bondage. Many people feel like this even though their work and jobs may not be all that unpleasant. When I was young and feeling like this my father in law once said to me, "Wait until you've been doing it for 40 years"! Well, I have now been doing it for 43 years! According to the "clock of life" and my social security benefits, I must work another 7 years before I have earned my rest. I'm not sure I will last that long and my goal is to get rid of all my clocks before that time. They will be replaced with one Zen clock that has no hands or numbers. My Zen clock will simply say "Now". What time is it? It is now. It won't matter where the sun is or what season of the year it is. Once the clocks are gone I hope to discover the real work that I am called to do. This is the work where money does not matter and you never look at the clock.

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