The experiment of not wearing a watch began simply because all my watches’ batteries kept on dying and I kept postponing taking them to be replaced. Finally, I thought to myself, “what would happen if I stopped wearing a watch altogether? How do millennials get by anyway?”. So I stopped.
If it all sounds silly, bear in mind I am the poster child for my generation, and have been wearing a watch since age 8: I pride myself on being always on time; I divide my days in chunks of hours allocated to different tasks; I plan around the 24 segments that divide a day. Meticulously.
In the past week, that I spent on vacation, I asked myself if not wearing a watch had changed anything.
Clearly, it has made me more aware of clocks everywhere: at the hospital and in any of the kitchens where I work, I now know exactly where to gaze if I want to know what time it is. But, instinctively, I realized I already know what time it is. More or less. I also realized there are very many places where they would like for you to get lost in: stores and markets for example. Have you ever seen a giant clock in a grocery store? Or at Macy’s?
Of course, I can always refer to my phone, and I do, but not as often as I would glance at my wrist, almost absent-mindedly, but perpetually aware of the passing of time.
Time, now, feels more elastic, less constrained. I wake up and, judging from the light, or lack of it, I know how much longer I can enjoy the warmth of my bed without relying on the alarm clock. The slanted shadows that fill my office let me know the dogs need to be fed. I am still punctual but less obsessively so. In a counterintuitive way, without what I am now seeing as the menacing presence of dials and hands, the days feel longer. Or, at least, less manic.
Without the visual aid, I obsess over the passing of time less. Which, all things considered, it is no small feat.