All in Good Time

I've lost 15 minutes of time in my day. Or maybe I've gained 15 minutes. I’m not sure. Every spring and fall, the time change always confuses me. In the spring, are you early or late if you forget to move your clocks forward? I can never remember. Time has always been a little bit of a family problem. Growing up, every clock in our house was set 15 minutes fast. The kitchen clock, our bedroom clocks – every single one. I thought that was normal. I thought everyone did that to make sure they were on time. Until I heard my mother explaining to visitors, who were puzzled looking at our clocks and then at their watches, that we set our clocks fast so we wouldn’t be late. But we still were. Almost always late. But we were never as late as my grandmother and aunt.

L-R: My mother, my two aunts and my grandmother
It was a family joke to tell them an event was starting an hour ahead of when it was actually scheduled, to increase the chances that they might be on time. They eventually caught on to these schemes and continued to arrive habitually late. I grew up thinking it was just a family characteristic to be late. Except that it caused a lot of arguments. My mother says she hated attending weddings as a child because my grandmother would arrive just as the bride was walking down the aisle. Or worse, she remembers arriving as the wedding party was walking out of the church and the wedding was over before they even arrived.

When I went off to college, being late was no longer an issue since it was simply not tolerated. My school was meticulous about rules and warning bells rang throughout the dorms, alerting us for mealtimes, class times, curfew times and just about every other time imaginable. There was no need to set my clocks fast while I was there. Actually, I didn't even need a clock my entire four years there, as I just timed my life by the tolling of the bells. But when I got a place of my own, I reverted to my family tradition of setting my clocks 15 minutes ahead. I especially liked glancing at the clock in my car, knowing if I was stuck in traffic on my way to work that I had 15 minutes more before I was really late.

But a few weeks ago as I reset the clocks in my house to daylight savings time, I decided I was going to live my life in real-time. Each clock in my house was set to slightly different variations, with my bedroom clock advanced a puzzling 23 minutes ahead, causing me to use considerable brain power to figure out the correct time. I wasn't sure why I needed to go to such lengths to avoid the actual time. My cell phone and computer reflected the actual time and it didn’t seem to alarm me, so maybe I could cope with viewing the actual time on all of my clocks. I considered this a companion step to keeping my New Year's resolution for last year.

I decided I was tired of not being a morning person. I would snooze the alarm. Wait until the last minute to get out of bed. And I was always racing the clock to get to work. To encourage myself with a little reward, I started brewing coffee at home instead of at the office. I started looking forward to my cup of coffee and a few minutes of Scripture study before heading out the door. After shocking myself the first few mornings of actually doing it, I started to enjoy it. Some days I had more minutes than others, but making myself get up earlier changed my outlook. And proved I could really change if I wanted to.

I think time has run out for me to use the excuse that being late just gets passed on from generation to generation. Now I’m trying to be mostly on time. But from time to time, I am still late. I think it's about time that I live in real-time. As time goes on, maybe I’ll figure out if I was behind the times, losing 15 minutes of my life or did I get with the times, and gain 15 minutes? Maybe I was actually ahead of my time. I guess only time will tell.


  1. What a thoroughly entertaining article - I loved it! I have known several people who set their clocks ahead to be 'on time"! We had someone in one of our churches who had 'their time' and the 'cow's time'.....rather than just getting up an hour earlier/later, etc., they kept with the one clock year round on 'cow's time' for the animals feeding, etc. So funny! I applaud you for living in 'real time' and of making the most of it!! Great article and I loved the picture of your mom!! You continue to amaze me with your talent and your insight!!

    1. Sharon,
      Cow's time -- I love it -- I find it so interesting to hear how others manage time -- it's a funny thing! Thank you so much (as always) for your encouraging words!


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