Somebody Else's Clock--How Our Jobs
Destroy Our Body's Clocks

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By Dede Howard

Continued From
Page 1                 Page 2

The clock that I wore strapped to my wrist that told me
when it was time to cut off this lunch break to go back into
the building early enough so that it seemed like I didn't
want to stay outside and lollygag.

The clock strapped to my wall that told me when it was still
too early to leave for someone so senior so I had to stay to
work on until it was too late to see the sun shining and too
late to seem like I wanted to go outside to breathe.

The clock strapped to my wrist that told me to et to bed in
time to sleep enough so that I could seem fresh when I got
to work the next day and I didn't seem like a person who
had stayed up too late having a life to the boss who paid
me too much to LEAVE THIS JOB.

The clock strapped to my mind that told me I just couldn't
--no, never, could I--TO LEAVE THIS JOB THAT PAYS ME

The clock, the clock, the clock strapped to my mind.

I hated the damn clock.

We Americans are controlled by clocks and schedules.  And
we're good at being controlled. The latest statistics show
that Americans are the most productive people on the face
of the earth. But we pay a price for it. We are also
chronically sleep-deprived. According to the 2008 Sleep
Study from the National Sleep Foundation,

-29% fell asleep or nodded off at work during the past
-36% fell asleep while driving
-32% say they drive drowsy 1 to 2 times per month and
26% say that they drive drowsy during the workday
-20% have sex less often or have lost all interest in sex
because they are too sleepy
-14% have missed family events, work functions and
leisure activities in the past month because of sleepiness

So, 10 years ago, I ended the tyranny of the clock. I
re-introduced my body to something it had almost
completely forgotten-- how to wake up and fall asleep
according to its own needs.

Now, I wake up when I want to. My body wakes up when
it feel good and ready.  I go to sleep when I want to.  I am
gray, I am older than I should be to enjoy these kind of
days for the first time. But I was not too old to do
something. I was not to old to exact my revenge on the

I destroyed my wrist watch that day I walked out. I threw
away the $200 wrist watch strapped to my wrist with the
spinning dials that told me what time it was in New York
and Paris. I destroyed the clock I owned that owned me.  I
threw it away on to the subway tracks.

And I instead, I went to Paris. I lived for 3 wonderful
months there and, until my money ran out, I actually felt
alive again, for the first time in decades.

Would I recommend to every to do as I did and take a
flying leap? No, maybe not. But sometimes, leaping out into
something unknown is the only course you can take when
staying feels like dying.


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