Time changes mess with my head. Falling back is bittersweet, though immensely preferable to springing ahead. To say I’m not a morning person would be an enormous understatement. I’m always saying “I need more time” and then November shows up and is like “Hey, here’s an extra hour. It was just lying around. Take it!” Then the winter sets in and it gets darker so early and that “Here’s an extra hour” starts to sound in my memory like “The first one’s free.”
I’m a summer person, and the interminable darkness of winter drives me absolutely mental. Darkness falls sooner, which is logistically problematic. Night driving is my nemesis and the easiest way to ensure a migraine for the trouble of having left the house. Thanks to a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, winter brings a lack of stability otherwise. It’s almost like my mood is solar powered and it takes all my energy to avoid slipping into the darkness that envelops the world seasonally. I think on this on the occasion of the time change and I am reminded of that extra hour.
So many times in my life I have fervently wished for an extra hour. Thinking on the losses my family has endured this year, I wish for an extra hour with the people I lost. An extra hour of hugs, conversation, laughter and stories would be so perfect, but I know it would never be enough. Like when I rolled from my bed this morning, exhausted with a stuffed up nose, consoling myself that despite how awful I felt, I had enjoyed an extra hour of sleep. It just wasn’t enough to revitalize my body, fatigued from seasonal ailments and the inevitable consequences of constant activity. I would gladly trade the useless hour of sleep for time spent sitting beside family no longer with us. It would be so sweet, but I know it would leave me much like this morning, tangled and tired and wishing there was more.
As a busy mom, I often feel as if I’m falling behind. I survey the sink of dishes, the cat hair on the rug and the pile of clothes I haven’t put away. I review my to do list, sprung from optimism, and note how far behind I really am. Always falling behind and falling is a good way to describe the sinking feeling when I realize how much I won’t accomplish by the end of the day. The adrenaline rush of all that I have to do feels like when your stomach seems to drop on a roller coaster descending far more rapidly than anticipated. I rarely need a reminder to fall behind because a lot of days it seems as if it’s all I ever do. This is the trouble with being Type A, driven and optimistic. Looking out the window on the first of November, watching the trees shed their leaves, I’m reminded of the need to let go of the inward judgment imposed by my day timer. It’s a calendar, not a scorecard, after all.
My calendar says the times are changing, but I’m comforted by the things that stay the same. Falling back is seasonal, but the blessings of family and love are evergreen. I’m not really a morning person, but maybe this year November will be the start of something good. The dawn of winter is like any other dawn, bringing hope and new challenges and best approached with a very large cup of coffee. I always feel like I need more time, so I will take my extra hour and make the most of it. For this over scheduled perfectionist, the first one’s free.
What will you do with your extra hour?