Posted 4 p.m., Nov. 25, 2013

Mandy Neely

Mandy Neely

Living by the clock

By Mandy Neely

Just think: Why are they called alarm clocks? Why couldn’t they be called pleasant clocks?

I’d love a pleasant clock. It would take a lot of worry off my shoulders. But then again, I know time is what keeps my life moving and everything in our world on schedule. Sure, “time stops for no one,” but it does drag the stragglers along in life.

Every morning, we must wake up, but our days don’t really begin until we set our feet on the floor. Then we either crawl or jump out of bed. That action might be made easier when we don’t jolt awake to buzzing, but without that jolt some people waste time snoozing.

The tick of that terrible, alarming clock keeps me startled, but moving. Yet I’m always a few ticks behind.

I must keep track of those ticks just to function in my day-to-day life. I need it for college, for eating, for my jobs and to tell me when a normal person would be asleep.

I ignore that last one for at least an hour.

I have a love/hate relationship with sleep. I love to sleep; I hate being woken up. I squint and growl, and my hair sticks up in every direction. As I reach for my glasses, my thoughts run the line of, “Whattimeisit,” everything jumbling together.

Then I generally poke myself in the eye with my glasses.

I notice the time, and my thoughts turn to, “Shoot! I’m late again.”

So I start my day off stressed. But I start it off moving.

My average day goes something like this:

8 a.m.: Whattimeisit? I’m going to be late.

8:30: Hurry up and do your hair. You’re going to be late!

9: Man, I’m starving. But I’m going to be late.

9:30: Crap, I’m late.

10: OK, I’m at work. Now what?

10:30: Work, work, work.

1:30: I’m starving!

2: What was I doing before I ate?

2:30: …I want more food…

3: Crap, I have to be at my other job in two hours

3:30: Internet distraction!

4: Must. Finish. Work.

5: Blehhhh, I wish I could eat.

5:30: I hate working retail.

6: Man, those customers sure were funny.

6:30: I hate working retail.

7:30: Is the day over yet?

8:30: Weeeee! I’m off! Quest for food time.

9: Oh, why am I so full?

9:30: Did I have homework?

10: Very important shower time. I worked a lot today.

10:30: I’m hungry again.

11: Crap, I had homework.

11:30: I’ll do it, but I want food, too.

12 a.m.: It’s midnight. I should go to bed earlier.

12:30: What time is it?

Rinse and repeat.

Where does all my time go? I see it all tracked here, but in the course of a day, it just ticks away. I am surprised every time I check the clock.

This busy schedule makes me appreciate when I do have free time. It’s rare, free time; rare things are always valuable. So the time I have to spend with my friends, to read a book or just to relax is so valuable, I celebrate it. Then I whine when it’s over.

It is possible to burn out from being so busy that your body rejects more activity. You get so tired that all your free time is used to sleep. It’s usually awkward; you fall asleep in your work clothes, you snore, you drool, and you wake up with your mascara across your entire pillow and most of your face. Or is that just me?

This semester, I cleaned a lot of mascara off my pillow. I took on two jobs, searched for a third, along with college, trying to prove I was a big girl and could take care of myself. I spent all my days concentrating on work and stressing about work when I was at home. I did not leave time to recover, but rather I plunged into my next task without any forethought. I ended up crashing for more than a week when my body could not take the stress anymore. So don’t burden yourself to prove you can, trust me. Your body will win the battle and alarm you with its response.

The point is it is OK to be busy, but take a little bit of time to unwind. If you don’t, you are going to be like your alarm clock, jumping up to scream from being so wound up.

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