Once upon a time, in a magical land far, far away, there was an enchanted place where I could get my shit done. There, in that fantastical realm, I was organized, I didn’t suffer from social-media-induced attention deficit disorder, and I could perform Frog Pose without fear of public queefing. Life was perfectly balanced. The end.
Approximately six and a half years ago, I threw away my watch.
After moving onto a sailboat, my watch had become a redundant tool. Whether it was one o’clock or four, it made no difference at sea. Time was estimated by the angle of the light, but I only guessed for fun: “It must be about eleven o’clock. Is it Wednesday today? Is it August yet?”
Without a watch, time slowed to a soothing tempo. The dimming sky and the arrival of stars signaled bedtime, and I would drift off to the gentle sway of the boat. No piercing alarm clock could interrupt my dreams in the morning.
A funny thing happened from within that timeless / dateless void. My intuition expanded. At the end of two years, my mind and body were capable of guiding me in a way that I’d never experienced.
Then, I moved back to land …
I didn’t want to compromise my honed senses with man-made concepts like dates and time, so I refused to buy a watch. I’d found a connection with nature and myself, and I didn’t want to lose it. If I let a watch take over the job of my intuition, I’d no longer be able to hear the whispered wishes of my soul.
Living without a watch was challenging in the city. I attempted to wake up with the sun, but the buildings messed with the light. At night, the moon and stars were obscured behind an orb of glowing street lights, which dirtied the sky to a muddy shade of brown. When I realized I’d lost touch with the phases of the moon, I felt heartbroken and disoriented.
In the city, nature disappeared, and so did my honed intuition.
My sleep patterns got confused. I’d wake up too early, or sleep until noon. Once that cycle began, it was impossible to align to a schedule. The lack of routine made me grumpy and stressed.
I began to miss appointments. Important dates were forgotten. Time cantered past at a speed too quick to keep up with. Rather than staying on top of tasks, I chased them down at the eleventh hour, falling down with exhaustion at the end of each race.
During the last four years since returning, my sense of balance has been swallowed into the muddy brown of the night sky. Something has to change …
My resolution for 2012 is simple
• Find balance.
A reliable schedule will bring routine, routine will bring balance, and balance will bring clarity and serenity. There’s only one way to solve this. A watch, you say? An alarm clock? Yuck.
Instead, I’ll be disappearing into nature once again to embark on another adventure.
What are your plans for 2012?
Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.