This is awkward. But here it goes. I was having a heart felt conversation with a friend-with-professional-qualifcations, and she said I might be OCD.
I must have responded with a glare, because she qualified her statement.
I heard her but resisted this clinical label. I don’t step over cracks or check the locks on my door.
The conversation continued to address how I measure time and organize my life.
The thing is, while I definitely have an A-type personality, I’ve come so far. My calendar is not overly cluttered with tasks and meetings.
But yes, I measure time. A lot.
Those skills served me well both professionally and personally. Leading a small non-profit while single parenting my son, I needed to be vigilant about my schedule. I perfected these skills over 20 years.
But here I am five years later without the same pressures, and I’m habituated to look at the clock and measure minutes.
Here’s the funny thing: I don’t do this at work. My obsession with time only applies to my “free” time.
I thought nothing of it, until HE gave me a funny look when I commented how well we did shopping — it only took 38 minutes. Not 40 minutes. Not under an hour. 38 minutes.
Another time I bragged that I prepped all the food in less than 45 minutes.
One morning I missed the on-ramp to drive across town and got nervous because it would take me longer to use the main street. Yep, I probably “lost” two minutes on that detour.
By that time, alarms blared. I couldn’t un-know what now was front and center of my attention.
OCD-ish. Ouch. Maybe she’s on to something.
I count, measure, and judge time. It’s a chronic habit. Despite all my progress, I have a deep sense of not enough time. I would argue that it was an unconscious habit. But the fact that I do the math and talk about it means that it’s actually quite conscious.
What I’m coming to realize, is that the underlying feeling of scarcity of time is an old story that is no longer true. And while that skill served me in the past, it no longer serves in creating an abundant and contented life.
Counting time exhausts me and perpetuates ongoing, chronic stress.
It’s going to be a tough habit to break. For sure. But I’m grateful to be able to laugh at myself and find amusement in my new awareness.
Inhale. I have all the time I need. Exhale. Repeat.
How about you? What’s your relationship with time? I’d love to know your thoughts.