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"I continue to be my own worst tyrant."

Six days in and I'm thinking that I might have finally resolved the fall-back time change problem. Dropping daylight savings time feels like punishment to me, a cruel bait-and-switch. Just as daylight becomes increasingly scarce, we, by fiat, by mere convention, agree to swipe another hour of it from the time we need it most, from the end of already seasonally dreary days. Could there be a better way to ensure the onslaught of seasonal affective disorder? I think not!

Most years, I've become a complaining victim to this curious convention, shuffling along into longer and darker nights, but this year, I decided to take a stand.
Rather than buy into the spurious trade offering an extra hour's sleep in the morning for the questionable benefit of driving home in pitch black darkness, I rejected the offer. I could, I reasoned, continue to rise at my usual hour and surrender to sleep on my usual schedule, the rest of the world be damned, if they so choose. So I did not snooze in extra late last Sunday, but rose at my usual four, though fresh convention insisted that it was "really" three. This slander meant nothing to me. I was just getting up at the very same time as I had through the sunnier season to avoid a shocking change to my system.

I seem fully capable (so far) of maintaining dual citizenship. I can advance my watch while keeping my internal clockworks pristine. I made my optometrist appointment on public time after getting started on my own. So far, my days progress at a lazier pace, giving me an extra productive hour before anyone but the new kitten and I are up roaming around. The Muse takes that extra hour and works until well after dark, the only substantive change for her is that she arrives at The Lab an hour later body clock time and yawns through supper. I finish supper a few minutes before bedtime now, but more vivid dreams seem another positive side effect of my coping strategy. I'm hoping that the old December blues might avoid me this year, inoculated as I will be by that extra hour of early morning wakefulness.

I'm considering all of the unconscious conventions I adopt, those behaviors I display just because everyone else seems to be doing it that way. I think this a healthy response. The greatest tyrannies seem to be the ones I never even thought to question, where context alone seemed to persuade me to comply as if I didn't even have a vote in my own comportment. I no longer feel compelled to drive ten miles per hour over the speed limit just because everyone else seems to. What else might I choose to do differently, my own natural way? What else might I parse as a personal choice? I firmly believe that life might include more choice points than immediately apparent. I delighted myself when I "discovered" beans for breakfast, savory rather than sweet pancakes, and long-sleeved shirts in summertime. These choices just fit me better, and though I might be the only one on the beach not dressed solely in my underpants, long pants, long sleeves, and a wide-brimmed hat suit the me that I know as me so very much better.

Liberty might not be something bestowed by constitutional law so much as latitude one grants one's self, the choice to make unconventional choices. I have no interest, it turns out, in writing postcards imploring my congressman to pass a law out-lawing regular time if I find my own unlikely choice to simply inhabit my own time zone instead. Interfacing with other time zones serves as no material inconvenience, I do that every day, anyway. I do not, though, each day, honestly assess what might work for me and choose that option for myself. I, like most, have much more often chosen to shuffle into one or another valley of the shadow of death along with the other compliant inmates, complaining about the tyranny undermining me. I continue to be my own worst tyrant.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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