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Keeping Mum#3: Extra Time

In our regular blog series, with the clocks changing this weekend, Annabel ponders about time.

It’s that time of year when once again I have to remind myself if the clocks go forward or back and whether it means an extra hour or not.  I can confirm it’s an extra hour and the clocks are going back.

An extra hour seems somewhat inconsequential given the time we’ve all had this year; the elastic quality that time has taken on, the blurring of days, weeks and months.  Also, the absence of what were timebound activities, between work and home, going out or staying in. 

And the final bizarre reality that even with all the ‘additional’ time this year has allowed – no commute, no social life etc –  I seem to have not spent the time very wisely.  The to-do list remains much as it was in March;  I don’t appear to have become a better person having had all this time to reflect on life, the world, the universe;  books remain unread and thus far there hasn’t been a  sourdough starter on the kitchen counter.

I found a glimmer of light in all this timelessness last weekend.  A visit to the cinema.  In normal times a fairly low key, everyday occurrence.  But. My Goodness.  If I had known the impact it was going to have I would have got seriously dressed up for the occasion.  It was FANTASTIC.  The film not so much.  But I didn’t dare to criticise it (as I might have done PC) because the whole experience was such a treat, and an incredibly life-affirming use of time that a trip to the cinema wouldn’t generally be. 

It pinged all my senses in a way I just hadn’t anticipated – vision, sound, colours, yes even smells – even the popcorn.  I was out and about doing something previously an almost inconsequential use of time, but which was exciting, refreshing and exhilarating, time to be marked and celebrated.  It seems a bit crazy to be quite so over-enthusiastic about a trip to see a mediocre film, but it really was so much more. 

Reflecting on this with a friend she explained that during lockdown a ritual had gradually emerged for her on a Saturday of taking a long bath and taking the time to indulge in all those products many of us accumulate in the bathroom  – exfoliaters, rejuvenators, fake tan, things to make you younger/more beautiful/a better person.  She said that this had become an incredibly important time in the week for her but one which has fallen by the wayside recently. 

The concept of ‘me-time’ always seemed something other people did and I was ever so slightly envious of them actually having the foresight to create such guilt-free time. 

We both agreed that we should take that extra hour we gain this Sunday and use it as an opportunity this, and every Sunday, or infact, whatever the day of the week.  To do something that pings the senses or makes us (feel) younger, healthier, better.   Or something that just takes a bit of time, a commodity we all have.  I don’t think it will be a sourdough starter and it would take more than a bathroom full of goodies to turn back actual time in my case, but that’s not the point either.  Just a bit of time, well spent.  Enjoy your extra time.

Annabel James is the founder of Age Space. Her views are her own.