There’s always a great pun with me and idioms about time. A lot of people say that time flies, every second counts, time is money and other taglines. That’s all too great, if I had any concept of time! Especially when someone says to me “wait a minute”, I get that smile on my face and instantly think: “how long do you want that minute to be?”…

Why you might ask?

Because I do not feel how long that minute takes, not even more or less, without the aid of an external device or stimuli, like a watch, phone, music, or any event which has a set starting time and ending time. However if I do not look to the watch and I got no music or reminder, I will become stuck in a time warp. My head runs in some kind of infinite mode and has processes and tasks running continuously, when I am awake and when asleep.

If you’d ask me to do a task without time handy, I would go on till I am tired (of it).

How do I know what time it is?

When I start to do a task without a preset starting and ending time, like: gaming, music production, drawing, reading, calling somebody, sleeping, swimming, skating or alike, I will not know how long I will be doing that process when I do not got a clock handy. Unless my mind and/or body gets tired, I could go on for hours without knowing.

But, when I start to do a task with a preset starting and ending time, like: an event, meeting, appointment with a doctor or alike, I will know exactly what time it is, because I keep the starting time (mostly) in my head.

When I do not remember the starting time, I will simply not know what time it is at the end of the event. So basically, I got to refresh the time in my mind, in order to be fully aware that it exists and store that current time inside my brain. My internal clock is however more off, than your old grandfathers clock would be in a thousand years…

The theory of slower aging..

infiniteIt was also mentioned in a discussion in the past about a theory I had, with my previous psychiatrist, that having no grasp of time maybe has a positive effect towards aging delay.

A lot of people with Asperger look (a lot) younger, which is well discussed about on the Internet. This might be why people often think, that I that look in my mid-late twenties, while I am older than that. That would also mean that time is on my side, so you won’t hear me complain at all, about that possible side-effect of high-functioning autism.

Time is a concept, invented by humans. Maybe I am not compliant enough? If this theory is true, people would age faster every second, under the stress of their own time and deadlines…

Is it my ADHD, autism or a problem with my memory or internal clock?

Another issue is that my short-term memory does not keep the date and time stored for long. I got no clue if it is the ADHD (selective memory?) or autism giving me that issue or if I simply do not got a functional internal clock?  Maybe it is because I am continuously busy in my head, because I do not want to waste time? I have never had the opportunity to ask that to my previous psychiatrist, Dr. Quisenaerts. May he rest in peace.

Who knows? Maybe, I should ask my current psychiatrist or psychologist?

Time -AND- Space…

To make it more difficult, I do not only got issues with time, but also with space. So I am literally lost in space and time, when I do not have my smartphone with location and agenda with me. To be on time at appointments, the calendar of my smartphone helps a lot with that sense. As long as I check the calendar a day in advance, everything will be (mostly) all fine. Don’t get me wrong though, I can find my way through a city but it will just take (lots) longer and it will not be as natural as a person without autism would do.

I need access to information like routing, public transport timetables, time some time in advance, to go towards my destination and arrive, without stress and in a timely manner.

To make it entirely difficult, my possibility to grasp time is entirely stress dependent. At high stress-levels, I tend to be late anyways. I try to be on time, but stress myself so hard, that I get late because the preparation moment fails, I take the wrong bus, forget my wallet or anything alike. At that moment stress becomes a vicious circle.

More about those stress-levels: Coping with (insane) stress levels

Lost in Time?..

At one time or another, I will have a moment that I will be doing something which takes that long, that I suddenly see the sun is gone or up, without knowing that a day has passed. Especially with psycho-medicines like Ritaline or Abilify, that effect can happen. At that moment I will need a Time-Out and rest till I get back up in the morning, in order to be synchronized again with society which is mostly operating at daytime…

zkboiMy Solutions?

I got several solutions to back me up with time. It requires a lot of willpower to keep the system organized. When I have an appointment, I follow the following routine:

  1. Immediately input name and location in Calendar;
  2. Immediately input real starting time and ending time (if known + traveling time);
  3. Save and RE-Check immediately the day and time on the spot;
  4. Checking/noting down the route in evening with public transport by ETD – 10m;
  5. Put alarm clock after for ETD – (travel time + preparation time)

Example entry

  1. Calendar: Psy H. Asperger – Address Somewhere
  2. Calendar: 17:00 – 18:00 (requires walking+bus)
  3. Save and wait, till I got time to do action points 4 and 5
  4. Note: Bus 888 = ETD 16:01 @ Antwerpen Central ; ETA 16:49 @ Somewhere
  5. Set Alarm Clock: 15:35 with as label: GO NOW! (16:01 – (20 + 5)

That way I will be right on time. If I have to be way ahead, I will fiddle a bit with the time settings to be a bus earlier or a different connection or something like that. IF bus 888 is late, I will have issues, so I mostly take a bus earlier if that would have happened once before. In this example, bus 888 drives every 10 minutes…

If I ever forget to enter an entry or I put it at the wrong date by accident (hence the re-checking is a needed step!), that appointment will be virtually lost. Without the calendar, I do not keep that kind of scheduling inside my head.

A smartphone is a great invention for that..

Closing Time

Ah, this title reminds me of a very dear friend, called Troy (RIP). I just also found out it is almost 5:00 and I got to be up at 9:00. Story of my life, to have this happening again, while the computer-clock at the bottom-right corner of my screen went totally ignored, as usually *lol*, so, it is really closing time now! Cheers!

Enjoy this song, it was Troy’s favorite: Closing Time by Semisonic (@youtube)

Any time!

Note: I loved the idiom-plays. Hoping, you enjoyed this one time too?

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One thought on “How do I grasp time?

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