Did you remember to “fall back” this year? If you didn’t, surely by now, three days later, somebody reminded you, or you noticed you were arriving early for everything.
We get two time changes every year and most people, myself included, give them very little thought the day after they happen. Yeah, either we suddenly have a lot of darkness, the fall back time, or the daylight, and warm weather, is bless-fully coming back. The “spring ahead” time.
But once we settle in, we don’t think much about it. There are some who complain about the time change. Most of them want it to always be daylight saving time because daylight until a little after six in the middle of winter trumps darkness until almost 9 a.m. at that time.
I can understand the desire for late afternoon daylight. Nobody likes coming home after work and it’s dark 10 minutes later. And a lot of us do the “work from dark to dark” thing, and I can tell you that is certainly no fun.
But not having any daylight until 9 a.m., even if it is only for a few weeks, is something that a lot of us couldn’t handle on a psychological basis.
When I first became aware of what was going on, probably in the early 1970s, spring ahead was the last Sunday in April and you fell back on the first Sunday in October. That seemed reasonable. You got six months of each time and you didn’t have that many dark mornings to make the start of the work day seem so unbearable.
But as humans have proven over the years, we simply can’t leave well enough alone. So, like my wife who can’t leave anything where I put it, some people decided we needed more evening daylight hours. You’ll have more time to play outdoors, they said. And you can go out shopping and not worry about being mugged in the dark parking lot!
So, the spring ahead was moved to the beginning of April, or maybe the end of March, I don’t remember, and fall back was taken to the end of October. It stayed that way for awhile, letting us get used to dark October mornings, then it was decided that we needed daylight evenings for most of March and spring ahead was moved to the second Sunday in March, letting us experience the joy of daylight at 7:30 p.m. when it was 37 degrees.
And, for some reason, fall back was moved to the first Sunday in November.
Now we have the “slow time” for a total of four months, give or take a week depending on where the second Sunday in March falls, and we get the “fast time” with all that wonderful evening daylight for eight months.
One of the downsides to the fall back time is having to deal with the mental depression that comes with the lack of daylight. Not for everybody, but a lot of people need sunlight to keep a strong mental outlook. And at this time of the year, the sun looks far away in the sky yet somehow is always right there when you’re driving down the road.
Called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it usually hits after the holidays are over, though with this year being what it is, who knows how the holidays will turn out?
So, on top of the mild regular depression some have, the depression over COVID-19 and the election, you can now add the time changing inspired SAD to your list of mental maladies.
But it is taking longer and longer, it seems, for really cold weather to show up. I’ve been around long enough to remember when Oct. 1 would have a high of 83 degrees and by Oct. 3 it’d be a high of 47 degrees and the temperature never recovered.
I don’t remember a really cold day this past October. And though it turned cold on the second day of November, we were back around 70 a couple of days later.
And there was an election or something yesterday. I’m sure, no matter what the outcome, some people are really unhappy and some are over excited, but you know your life hasn’t changed any.