Amanda Jacobs: We don’t have time -- time has us

Amanda Jacobs

“Spring forward.” What a delightful way to remember the time change. After all, wouldn’t you much rather “spring forward” than “fall back”?

I, for one, would not.

When I was a little kid, the idea of losing an hour of the day kind of freaked me out. What happens to that poor, lonely outcast of an hour? Where does it go?

Today, I’m not so much freaked out by the change to daylight saving time as I am annoyed by it. (I only recently found out that it isn’t “savings.” You learn something new every day.)

Come to think of it, I’m not really crazy about “falling back” either. Getting an extra hour is nice, but I inevitably end up wasting that extra hour on some frivolous activity instead of using it for sleep.

And I don’t like coming home from work in the dark.

Still, I prefer falling back to springing forward.

Yes, I will admit that it’s lovely to have an extra hour of daylight. But losing an hour of sleep is a disturbing side effect that comes with obtaining that daylight.

I rarely — if ever — get eight hours of sleep, which is a shame, because having a good sleep is one of my favorite pastimes. So losing an hour of that precious rest is really not OK with me. Maybe I’m being irrational; after all, one hour of sleep in exchange for months of longer days is really not so much to ask. Maybe I’m just feeling the effects of getting less sleep over the weekend.

Or maybe I’m simply fascinated by the variable nature of time, which never seems to give our wants and needs any consideration as it passes. In fact, I’ve found that it does exactly the opposite of what I want it to do.

When I’m enjoying myself with friends or watching an engrossing movie or absorbed in a good book, time flies by. When I’m really busy and need more time to get my work done, entire hours drop off the clock like they have somewhere else to go.

When I’m eagerly anticipating an event, the seconds crawl by like stranded explorers looking for water in the desert. When I’m bored out of my mind, the clock is kind enough to give me inordinate amounts of time to contemplate the lack of excitement in my life.

A two-and-a-half-hour drive on the highway seems much longer than two and a half hours of time spent with friends. A day at work can seem like an eternity or flash by in an instant — or both.

When I think about where I was and what I was doing at this time last year, 12 months seems like a lifetime. At the same time, I find myself wondering how that year could have gone by so quickly.

If I could have a superpower, I’d like to be able to control time. (My second choice would be invisibility, because that would just be awesome.) Then I could take care of everything that I need to get done at home and work, and still have plenty of time to enjoy myself and get enough sleep. Unfortunately, I don’t have any superpowers.

I guess the only thing that we can do to deal with the whims of time is live in the moment. The past is gone, no matter how slowly or quickly it went, and the future will get here at whatever pace it wants to.

Time will keep chugging on at its own speed whether we like it or not, so all we can do is learn to accept that fact and make as much as possible out of the time we have.

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