Points of Reference

I knew I was leaving family, friends, work, and our home –
all things that somehow define who I am, what I do, how I “move” in the world.
So, I was prepared for feeling a bit lost and ungrounded. But, after several
months, I realized there were two surprising things that I no longer have, or
use, to measure my days, define myself.

One is the clock. Time isn’t the same here – I don’t have to
be anywhere, at a specific time. Oh, there’s the occasional appointment or
event, but nothing as stringent as showing up for work everyday. I realize now
how much my life was ruled by the clock -when to wake and sleep, when to eat,
when to turn on my favorite TV or radio programs. It’s all a bit unsettling,
without this marker or divider of the day.

There’s a clock on the stove and, for months that was all we
had. I got a wall clock for the bedroom (when I wake up during the night, do I
stay away or try to go back to sleep? …depends on what time it is), but the
clock’s battery-operated hands made an annoying click as the second hand moved
(making going back to sleep almost impossible!), so I moved it into the
bathroom (I can hear the clock all through the flat, but it’s quiet enough to

I seldom wear my watch, what’s the point? I divide the day
into morning, afternoon, and evening, and sometimes those divisions get
blurred. For this time-obsessed woman, I find it all rather disconcertingly

The second is the scale. We don’t have one. I’ve gone months
without weighing myself. I used to know, within a couple of pounds, how much I
weighed, because I stepped on the scale every morning. Truth be told, it didn’t
really change my behavior; it was just a depressing statistic to start the day.
There’s a scale at our gym, but it’s kept in the trainer’s office (not very
accessible) and the measurements are shown in kilograms and stone – so I have
to convert it to pounds, and since the scale is not digital, being by a kilo or
two can really make a difference. So, another marker is gone.

It’s not that I really miss either of these taskmasters –
neither the obsession to be places on time, nor the wish to weigh less added to
my life significantly. But, there’s something odd about giving up these
measurements, these points of reference that I used for so many years.