This weekend, the United States will engage in the annual ritual of manipulating time by setting the clocks ahead by an hour to begin the stretch of the year known as “Daylight Savings Time.”
Many people will grieve the “lost hour” that results from moving the clocks ahead one hour.
Of course, most of our clocks and time keepers these days automatically adjust, so you might not even notice it. If you do manually adjust a clock, it’s easy to feel like something is being taken from you.
The clock said 2 am, now it’s 3 am.
Just like that, the hour is gone.
Or is it?
One of my favorite things about the two days each year when we set the clocks forward and backward is that it serves as a potent reminder that clock time is not real time.
Clock hours and minutes are a man-made invention designed for schedules.
To be clear, clock time is important for coordinating activities in a global commerce culture.
There is also no question that changing the clocks has an impact on our biological rhythms — studies show greater instances of accidents in the week after changing the clocks (more in the fall, when darkness comes “earlier”).
Yet the impact on our biology has a lot to do with our neurology: our mindset and how we think about “time.”
When we step away from clock time and focus on natural time — the rhythms of days and seasons, the cycles of the moon and planets, the workings of nature — we realize that time is more expansive than can ever be displayed on a clock.
The hour isn’t lost. It just got moved to a different part of the day.
You have more time than you realize.