Now before you read any further, don’t turn your clocks back an hour. Yes, this is in fact the first day of Daylight Savings Time (DST) and last night, before you went to bed, you were supposed to turn your clocks ahead one hour, in exchange for an hour of sunlight at the cost of an hour’s worth of sleep.
Some medical professionals now believe this artificial adjustment of our circadian clock comes with health risks, including an increase in heart attacks in the elderly, while people who study safety statistics also warn us that there’s an uptick in traffic accidents the week following the start of DST. Most of us, especially those of us living in northern states, find more benefits than costs. For more factoids and the history of DST, see Daylight Saving Time.
Now why have I titled this post the opposite of what one would assume it should be? To answer that question, I will need to reveal some personal information. “Hi, my name is Linda, and I’m an alcoholic.” Yes, I’m a friend of Bill W. and grateful to be welcomed into circles of his friends. Ironically, there was a time that I was so full of shame by that admission, that I was as sick as my secret. Over 25 plus years, of 24 hours at a time, have changed me. Today, I’m sober and live my life openly and with gratitude. I have to admit however, that one thing I learned in my youth and my drinking years was resilience. Yes, hence the title of this piece, fall forward, spring back. After a day or evening of excess, after metaphorically falling forward more often than literally doing so, I needed to spring back and attack the day with a hangover.
Each year in the spring, I remember to change the clocks by doing the opposite of the title of this post. I also employ the reminder of springing forward and falling back as a tool for living my life in a different way than in the past. I spring forward when I make progress with tackling a problem, when I work on a character defect, or learn something new; I fall back on what I know and who I need for support, when I rely on others for help or when I draw on my years of experience and knowledge, especially when it comes to expecting different results from the same behavior. I need to fall back on what I’ve learned; that change requires me to face fears, pay attention to what I resist, and give myself permission to look awkward, sometimes even silly, while I learn a new behavior or skill.
Resilience remains in my toolbox for living. I still fall forward sometimes and spring back, by making mistakes and learning from them, and I spring forward and fall back on what I know and who I need to call on for help when I rely on friends or experience to guide me forward. At the end of the day there’s a lot of benefit to an extra hour of sunlight, it’s one less hour of living in the darkness.