Reassessing the day

DST has just rolled out. 

No, it’s not an abbreviation of a new tax announced by a random government in a continent far far away. It’s Daylight Savings Time. 

I’ve now lived in Australia long enough to recognise the real implications of the time change that comes with summer. Last year this time, I was shaking my head at, and rather obviously judging, the immature Australians who complained every year about this once-a-year occurrence.

All that hoopla, even though their smartphones automatically went forward by an hour, without them having even to turn a dial. It seemed stupid and selfish to me that Aussies would be so upset about having more daylight in a day, despite thoroughly enjoying every bit of it by firing up the barbecue and popping three casks of white.

Now, however, into my second year in the sunburnt land, having understood precisely why the country acquired that name, I resonate with Aussies. On the first night of AEDT, I was rummaging in my kitchen trying to decide between cooking and not. 

It was 10 minutes to 7 pm. It was still light outside, and though waning, it wasn’t quite dark enough to turn the lights on inside. I don’t like having indoor lights when natural light is adequate.

It stung me, harder than I expected, that darkness hadn’t fallen yet. Having grown up in South Asia where sunset is often synonymous with 5:45 pm, I was rattled to see it lingering well past that. Technically, it was almost time for dinner, but you don’t eat dinner in broad daylight. And since I’m accustomed to having at least 4-5 hours of darkness before bedtime, the late sunsets are messing with my head.

Perhaps that’s how restless mothers feel when their child stays up on a school night. It felt wrong and it bothered me that I couldn’t tell the sun to quit fooling around and go to bed.

That got me thinking—this happened last year as well. We went from Standard Time to Daylight Time, but I wasn’t upset at all. If anything, I was only fascinated that I could ride home at 8 pm, enjoying the sunset, without a light on my bike.

And that’s when it hit me: the thrill of being in a new place has begun to wear off. Sure, I’m still entranced by glorious sunsets over the lake, but I now realise that it’s one of the reasons I struggle to stick to a routine. Because 10 pm feels like 8 pm and I don’t eat until 9 pm, I end up going to bed at midnight almost every day.

That doesn’t mean I hate daylight savings, but I’m not ecstatic about it either. All I know is that DST interrupts my lifestyle and I’ll complain. Well, a bit.

First world problems, amirite?

Bright night

summer sunset in Canberra
Summer sunset in Canberra

Summer rays shower—
as if the universe said:
and let there be light.

It’s my first summer in Canberra (yes, in this part of the world, Christmas is literally hot!), and I’ve been enjoying having abundant light—even at 8 pm.

Of daylight savings

A lot of my friends overseas whine at having to rewind their clocks twice a year. Living in a country where daylight savings wasn’t a thing, I tried my best to sympathise with them and nod along as they apologised for missing meetings, and ranted about how the change was disrupting their lives.

Now though, I live in a country that does have an official system of daylight savings. About three weeks ago, Canberra went from AEST to AEDT, which means we have now turned our clocks an hour late. 

I couldn’t care less about it. 

I understand that people working defined times in a day would be thrown off by the sudden shift. But it didn’t affect me in any way, except giving me an extra hour of sleep every morning.

Aside from that, I don’t understand why the rest of the world gets so upset when the clock turns. It’s a mild, temporary, adjustment that we get used to within a couple of weeks.

I don’t see purpose in physically delaying time. So why complain and make a big deal of it?

When I look through my bedroom window, at 6 pm, it’s bright, sunny, and warm. I’m amazed that I can spend another couple of hours wandering around the lake before it gets too dark to stay out without a flashlight. (It’s not hot yet, and I’m not looking forward to summer.)

My point is, we’re getting so much daylight in a day. When nature herself gives us more than we could ever ask for, we shouldn’t be worrying about petty things like human made clocks.

If we just stop trying to fit time into our constraints, perhaps we’d be happier and notice all the time that we do have in our hands.