When I was in the seventh grade, I remember absolutely loving my history teacher, Mr. H. He seemed very wise…Not the normal teacher’s level of wisdom, but a level higher that went far beyond book knowledge.You could see in his eyes. He was a war veteran, and yet completely razor-sharp; seemingly unaffected by the trauma of warfare.
Mr. H was nearing his retirement, and he told the class,
“When I retire, I am going to get rid of all the clocks in my house. All of these years, I’ve been waking up before the sun, arrive early, go to bed early. When I retire, I will get out of bed when I am ready to wake up. I will only go to sleep when I am tired…That’s what I’ll do,” he said, relishing in the idea, as if it was the most heavenly thought in the entire world.
It just struck me tonight that for the past year, I have been metaphorically living without clocks. I may not be rich, but I get to live a life at 24 that Mr. H came home from a war and worked for years before he could wake up when he was ready to wake up. Nap when he wanted to nap. Fish for as long as he wanted. It truly is a precious commodity.
I graduated college, and I needed to take a long, hard look at my life to decide what would make me truly happy. After deciding to leave my job I kept through all of college, I stopped going anywhere I was forced to be. I started a business that worked around my time schedule. On one hand, it’s an experience often filled with guilt for not waking up earlier to accomplish everything I need to do in one day, but even on those unproductive days, I go to bed, wake up, and finish what I started the day before. It's the only time in my life when the work I put into something is directly related to how much money I make.
I am not accountable for anyone but myself, and if I miss my own deadlines, I can’t fire myself, unfortunately. I am stuck with myself, so rather than getting rid of a problem, I am forced to improve. I don’t know how long this kind of life can possibly last. I am constantly empowered, and yet constantly terrified, which pushes me forward. I would love if it lasted forever. I’m sure glad I can experience what Mr. H was talking about while I’m still young.
Don’t get me wrong- I have nothing against waking up early and making the most out of the day’s work. In fact, I love mornings. In the summer, I often wake up at 6 or 7:00 without an alarm clock, because I am rested, and I am excited to just live.
Sometimes I think that human beings aren’t meant to live on a schedule. We are shocked awake by an alarm- the pit in our stomach protesting another day at a job we hate. The secret desire to call in sick, like we did as kids, pretending we had a stomach ache so we could stay home from school.
Someday, when I get married, I will have to wake up, make breakfast for the family, and bring the kids to school. I know this schedule-free life can’t go on forever. However, the motivation to get out of bed would be because I love the reason why I am awake, rather than the threat of being fired. I guess it has a lot to do with what they say- “find a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” Personally, I would say, “Find a life you love, and you will never want to crawl back into bed again.”