By Mitch Rosenzweig
At first I thought it was me.
It was the first clock I changed at daylight savings time, as it is usually the first one I look at. Later that day I noticed it was wrong so I fixed it again, but later it was still off. Odd, I thought. One more time I adjusted it. Satisfied that I finally had it right, I forgot about it. A few days later I noticed it was wrong again, but not by a lot. I thought it must be the battery, so I changed it—seemed like the right solution. But the next day it was off by 10 minutes again.
Time for a new clock.
I like to quip that broken clocks are usually right twice a day. But in this case, it wasn’t true. It seemed perfectly happy being near exactly 10 minutes off. I must have changed it five times, and the battery too, and it still wasn’t the right time. I did some tests, put in another new battery and even gave it a good shake, all without much luck. After a few days of it being the wrong time, I began clock shopping. But after three stores, the only one I found that I liked was a Disney princess one, and that would just be wrong in the kitchen.
I really did like the old one best. So, I just forgot about it and figured what will be will be, and that someday I’ll get a new clock.
And then a timely miracle happened—not a water into wine kind of miracle, but a little one nonetheless. For the past week, the clock has been keeping perfect time again. I keep checking and rechecking and it hasn’t lost a minute. How it could possibly have fixed itself is beyond rational understanding. It must be a miracle!
Often our fears and trepidations can be like trying to get somewhere but relying on broken clocks to tell us when it’s time to get going. A voice inside tells us it’s not the right time, to justify not taking any action and staying small. But despite being out of sync, we keep looking, hoping that this time will be the right time.
There is no such thing as the perfect time, regardless of what your clock tells you.
If you count the minutes that you spend waiting for the right time, you will get good at counting but never get to your goal. And even if you’re convinced it isn’t the right time, it might be. The best solution isn’t a new clock, but overcoming your fear.
And the right time for that is always now.
Mitch Rosenzweig is a veteran clinical psychologist and social worker, and in this new book Reaching for Insights: Stories of Love, Faith, and the Kitchen Sink, he attunes his therapeutic sensibilities to his daily landscape and uncovers life lessons for us all—treasures gained by observing the ordinary from an often amusing, and always positive, perspective. This rich collection of 200 brief essays penned from his personal and professional observations delights us and invites us to grow into better, more compassionate human beings. For more information, visit his site.
Photo: viva la emily/tumblr
Editor: Dana Gornall