Have you noticed that time is completely different now?

I normally have a very well-developed sense of time, as though I swallowed a watch at some point. Years of facilitating workshops and moderating conferences left me confident in my ability to know how much time has passed and to make the most of each minute. I usually travel a lot, always on a schedule. I am busy. And time is in short supply.

But now…I’ve lost all sense of time. I’m just floating in it. It reminds me of being a child. Everything seems slower for children; kids are constantly complaining of being bored. (My mother used to say, “Good for you, maybe you can learn something from it.”)

Once we hit university and then especially the workplace, we don’t have that experience anymore. Every minute is packed with tasks, there’s no “free” time to float in. Time becomes our number one enemy—we just never have enough of it.

And suddenly, the thief time has become irrelevant for many of us once again. My disclaimer: Obviously this does not apply to any of our frontline or essential workers, for whom I am endlessly and overwhelmingly grateful, from drivers to doctors to nurses to supermarket employees and mail carriers to farmers—THANK YOU. You are still keeping time and keeping us alive to boot.

The rest of us are experiencing this amorphous sludge that just does not organize itself the way it used to.

I’m still having meetings and finishing some deliverables, but otherwise time just…isn’t. I’ll look at the clock and it’s nine, then look again a few minutes later and it’s eleven, and me with nothing to show for the two hours. Maybe I’ve drunk some tea, or contemplated the plump buds on the trees outside my window. But maybe I haven’t.

I feel a little lost. What happened to the watch I swallowed? Has it wound down completely? Will I ever regain that innate sense of a minute, of an hour? Am I just experiencing a different way of being human? People in cultures with a different measure for their lives might not have this sense of disconnection and discombobulation that we’re feeling. After all, the sun is still rising and setting, the weather is changing, the birds are migrating. Maybe I’ll learn to tap into those rhythms and not the rigid tick, tick, tick I’ve marched to my entire life.

Have you found time is slippery, meaningless these days? Are new ways of measuring your life emerging?

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