I didn’t start carrying a handbag till I was 32. For so many years, being able to stuff my things into the side pocket of the baby bag had worked just fine. I didn’t start wearing make-up till I was 34. I was living alone by then and that allowed me more time and money to spend on myself.
I wasn’t much interested in wearing a watch. My first watch was a Mickey Mouse watch my grandparents gave me when I was about nine years old. I ruined it almost immediately by deciding Mickey wanted to swim in the bathroom sink. Since when does a mouse swim? I remember buying a Citizen and a Wittenauer watch, but it seems I didn’t wear them long.
When I was about 30 years old I started working in call centers. You are in a fishbowl as a phone consultant in a call center. Absolutely everything is watched and measured and reported on. The goal is efficient use of time and money. And they have formulas and forecasts to assure their success. I learned that time, down to the minute, was very important and my time was not my own. I had a boss that said, “Business is lost in a fraction of a second in a call center.” I wasn’t prepared to take it all quite that seriously, however I got the point. Oddly through the first eight or so years in the call centers, I never wore a watch. Was it some sort of rebellion?
Five years ago, when I became a manager, I tried wearing one again. I was running with the “big boys” now. I wanted to look professional and responsible. So I wore it and looked at it when appropriate. However, my time was still not my own. I could plan so that 11 hours worth of work fit into 8. But, the emergency monster, a Medusa-like creature, would come around the corner and destroy my day’s plan. Looking into her eyes would turn me to stone, cold and clunky.
Besides, clocks were everywhere. On mostly bare walls, on phones, on computers. The one circling my wrist was beginning to suffocate me like a boa constrictor squeezing to cut off breath and circulation. In a couple of months I had misplaced it. Until a month ago, I never thought about wearing one again.
I saw surfing the web, perhaps my favorite pastime. I saw a deal on a really cute watch. (Perhaps finding good deals is really my pastime.) The watch is silver with a pink face. “Well, you don’t really need a watch,” I told myself. But then on second thought, I realized I did. I have absolutely no set in stone schedule, and I really like that. This year it became hard for me to keep a routine. I seemed to even have trouble with meetings that met the same day, same time, every week. But I have a lot to do. I’m very impressed with how much I’ve absorbed, how much I’ve accomplishment and that I’ve done on a shoestring budget.
So I have reclaimed and re-purposed my time. Now I do what I really care about, and can really care about the people I do it with. I wear my watch every time I leave the house. I’m on a mission with 16 hours worth of work to do in 12.