Today marks the annual transition back to a favorite time of year—Daylight Savings Time! Extended daylight for a full extra hour every day until November! Many of you say, “Losing an hour of sleep is never a bonus.” I understand. As an early morning person, I don’t cherish waking up to a pitch dark sky, but there’s so many activities where it’s safer for children to play in and daylight to run errands.
I just look at it as having an “extra” hour in my day to do with as I please. As long as I see sunshine, my day isn’t over. Have you ever said to yourself: “If I had just one more with hour with (my loved one), what I wouldn’t give? We don’t need to live in a fatalistic attitude but it’s an entirely new way of appreciating the gift of time we all have to view daylight as a time to see and be seen, to be acknowledged as vital, here and now. It might not be here tomorrow.
When we call our family and friends, it’s great, but when we take the time to be with them in person, whether just dropping by for a quick visit, or planning to pick them up and drive for an outing, maybe lunch downtown at the Village Cafe, these small gifts of 60-minute packets are something you can give your loved one every day. It might mean batting practice with your son, taking your daughter to dance classes and staying to watch her—all before “the end of the day.”
So, this morning when you woke up, had you remembered to set your clocks forward an hour? Was your first thought? Oh gosh, I’ve already lost an hour this morning? It’s almost noon (even if it’s 8:00 am). I’m already behind today! Was that your reaction?
Or, did you start looking at your phone and computer to see if it was “really” that time Had you remembered to set “every” clock in the house? Your microwave? Your car? Those are about the only two clocks in the house, except your wrist watches (with the exception of Apple iWatches and Samsung watches) that don’t require manual updating. It’s a good thing to have some of those, though, because you find yourself questioning whether or not your systems changed the time properly.
If you are a very early riser, you don’t see the sun when you wake up on a “regular time” schedule anyway, but if you have a more “relaxed” schedule, you take notice of it being dark upon your more leisurely awakening. Instinctively you start yawning as you focus on that hour of sleep you just lost, right?
And the additional effect of that extra hour of sleep you lose will be soon forgotten as your body clock catches up with you. I frequently hear people say, “I don’t care what they do, as long as they stop changing it all the time. I wish they’d just keep it at one time and stay there.” We’ve come close to preserving DST year-round in the past, but so far it has not changed permanently. The short days of winter are still too attractive to us.
Seasonal Allergic Disorder (SAD) is a genuine medical condition, particularly in colder months or on gloomy, rainy, overcast days, the lack of sunlight, or when we can get out in it. Daylight cures a bad attitude. Vitamin D can be absorbed through the skin via sunshine exposure. Long car trips don’t seem so long or tedious when you have another hour of sunlight to drive in. Face it, most of us are happier when the sun is out!
Picnics can last longer. Work on your favorite car with an extra hour of daylight. Get in a full round of golf after work (a favorite!). Walk to the park and back in daylight; do your evening run without tripping on a sidewalk you can’t see, potentially overlooking animals crossing streets while driving, and noting reptiles crossing sidewalks on your path. You definitely want to be able to see those!
During Daylight Savings Time, seniors (whose eyesight is better by day than night) appreciate rides in the car with you, dropping by and sharing your day. Time we spend with people we love is a precious gift.
Somehow when we think of an hour of sleep we lost, we focus on loss. But, what if it gives us an extra hour to spend with someone we love in the daylight, where we can see them clearly? Older people prefer to be outside the home during the daytime. Instinctively the nighttime brings the sense that day is done, work is over, and it’s time to retire for the evening.
We tend to associate age with going to sleep early, calling it a day sooner than young people do, and a time to shut down a lot of our activities. Unless you’re a real night owl, this is you. On the other hand, if you’re an early bird, it is a major change for that first hour you’re awake. But you can use that hour to be productive indoors, and if you work from home, you don’t have to drive anywhere in the dark (yet), so that’s another win.
What will you do with your extra hour of sunlight for the next eight months? Is it an extra hour to be with that person you care most about? Are you going to start that novel you always hoped to write? Are you going to change your exercise regimen and start at the beginning of the day rather than the end? Either way, the morning is still yours to control, order as you like, and start your achievements of the day sooner. Enjoy the extra sunlight as long as you have it, and until they stop flipping it back in the fall, you can go back to “the way things were” for at least four months. It’s all in the attitude. Happy Spring Break week to those who are celebrating! And don’t forget to change your microwave, clock radios (if you still have those), and the clock in your car!
And if you are undecided about how important it is to consider every hour precious, here’s a good reminder. That “one more hour, one more day” you take to catch your child’s baseball game, to be in the front row of your daughter’s dance recital, or to guess the puzzles on “Wheel of Fortune” as you watch TV with your Mom—will mean the world to you in years to come.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi8O7JdA4Sg “One More Day” (performed by Diamond Rio)
Welcome Daylight Savings Time!
Cody D. Jones ’02 and Chelsea Jones ‘11