Yesterday was the first day wearing my watch in almost two years. This watch had been sitting dormant because of its need for some major repairs. For most people, a watch is just a way to keep track of time, but this watch is something different (or at least it was supposed to be different). This watch and I have been together for 20 years.
A few short days after graduating from high school, I woke up each day in the Navy. Every day was planned, structured, and dictated by someone else. Days were long, routine, and blended together and I never wore a watch. There was never really a reason to wear a watch when each day was someone else’s and you were just along for the ride.
But as my four-year journey was coming to an end, I began to think. Maybe spending all that time at sea gives you time with your thoughts that the average person doesn’t normally have in life…or maybe it was just breathing all that salt-filled air. My thoughts were filled with plans, ideas, and goals for life.
One of the first things I did upon my return (besides rushing down to start dating the woman who would ultimately become my wife) was to buy myself this watch. It took a while to find the right watch. Something nice, but not too nice. Something that would last, and stay in style.
Eventually, I found the watch I was looking for and in an overly ceremonious way, purchased the watch. After unwrapping it, and placing it on my wrist, I told myself something as it rested there for the first time.
“Your time is now your own, and this should be a reminder to make the most of it.”
This reminder helped me through harder times ahead, through college exams, moving and changing jobs, and periodic failures in life. The reminder was present at amazing times of our wedding, kids, first houses and jobs, and establishing a life together.
Yesterday as I drove to work, sat in meetings, went to a parent-teacher conference, shopped for school supplies, and came home, the watch was there. Periodically while glancing down at the movement of the hands, I was reminded of my words to myself so long ago. It was as if for a moment, I was receiving a reminder and a challenge from my 22-year-old self.
“Your time is still your own, are you making the most of it?”