I jokingly said in response to being asked how long I’d been singing with my community choir’s (mostly) annual Messiah group that I have no sense of time. I think, from all proof I’ve been able to put together, that it’s been seven years. But I really have a very loose association with time.
I have a magical ability to erase time. If I have been somewhere and then not been there for a while – even a long while – when I return it feels like no time has passed. I went to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip years ago, then went back a few years later. My mind slotted me right back into the place like a reverse Rip Van Winkle, “Ah, this is me here.” But like with good ole Rip, things had changed. People changed, their lives had moved along. So had mine.
I’m not unaware of time. I simply can’t measure it with any sort of consistency. No rhythm. When I have no constraints, the simple lightening and darkening of the day gives me sufficient sense of time passing. If I’m reading or otherwise mentally engaged even my own body fails to produce the hints of hunger or exhaustion that signal the hours slipping away. Until I finish the book or look up from my work and it all comes rushing back in.
I’m not sure if I care for a solution. I set alarms (oh, how do I need to set timers; cooking and reading are incompatible if I want unscorched food). That helps manage this life. But is it really such a bad thing? (I worry what it says about my mental state.) It would be nice to live and work in a world that didn’t care about time. It’s all imaginary, anyway.