The Biological Clock

The dream was uplifting and happy; and it seemed to have lasted the entire night. Upon awakening, I checked the smart watch’s sleep app to determine how much REM sleep I’d had because that type of sleep provides our most vivid, memorable dreams. The sleep app said that I’d only had 13 minutes of REM sleep. I immediately marveled at the time compression that must have occured. In 13 minutes, I felt as if I had dreamt for several hours.

The dream in question involved me beginning my first day on the job at a radio station that was a competitor to the one where I was actually employed in real life. I entered a 1920s era hotel where the station was located. I paid close attention to the architectural features of the building. I was carrying a clipboard that was holding stacks of official papers as I entered the studio. The receptionist ushered me to my new work space. The work area was located at a long, portable table–the type one sees set up at garage sales and community events booths. On the table was an array of very sophisticated electronic gadgetry. Eventually my new supervisor and his boss greeted me with handshakes. They casually mentioned that I was fortunate to land the job because they don’t normally hire people of advanced age. Then I awakened from the dream.

Upon pondering the dream and its possible meanings, the term, biological clock came to mind. The dream was about a new career oportunity for my retired self in an experience that seemed to last all night long; yet the string of events actually took place in the span of 13 minutes. Elapsed time was certainly one of the main features of the dream.

I powered down the smart watch and removed it from my wrist. I heard the distant siren of an ambulance answering the call of somebody’s medical emergency. There was a fleeting wish that if I could halt the advance of time for awhile, I’d do so immediately. If I was younger, I’d eagerly embrace a challenging new job. On the other hand, I’m actually quite happy with my current state of retirement because I’m pretty much free to do whatever my heart desires within reasonable limits. I’m now sure the dream’s message was about the ticking of my biological clock.

Overall, I feel happy and lucky to have the life I’m living. Throughout this life, I’ve been mindful of the fact that we humans are only alloted, at best, nine decades or slightly longer in some instances, in order to experience life on Earth. Like most folks, my perception of each passing decade seems progressively shorter. Yes, this is disconcerting, but it is what it is.

Then one has a few moments of transcendence, when the perception of time is peculiarly altered. The awareness of one’s own biological clock is manifested in a vivid dream. I have often felt amusement at society’s obssession with measuring our lives with clocks. What analogy was used before the invention of clocks? This is one of the scenarios I’d like to experience if I could go back in time.

Certainly clocks have a very important role to play in modern society. Interpersonal organizations and daily routines utilize clocks and watches to synchronize our intentions and actions. We coordinate our rhythms of digestion, sleeping, working, and relaxation according to the workings of these mechanical and electronic devices. Commerce and private life is so attuned to clocks and watches that we often forget that artificial notions of time don’t usually jibe with our natural, biological clocks. Still, I wonder what our modern civilization would be like if we synchronized our personal, internal clocks with our social responsibilities.

Don’t we sometimes wish that we were not prisoners of time? Why should we have to limit ourselves to a relatively brief span of time on this planet according to our biological clocks? There is a vast realm of human experience and history reaching back to prehistory and the wonders of what lies ahead of humanity in the limitless future? The human imagination is capable of mentally living outside of artificial time constraints. The ability to envision time that is not limited by our biological clocks is quite astonishing isn’t it?

At times, I have believed that the biological clock was some sort of conspiracy and myth designed to prevent me from doing everything I want to do. Those were times when my biological clock was in severe conflict with scientific, conceptual time. Now, I am better able to embrace both ideas. For the time being, I’m comfortable with this existential conundrum. I hope there’s a second part of this morning’s happy dream to enjoy in the near future.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the writer, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. “I’m not a soldier, not a political man. I’m an artist. If war comes, I won’t do anything to help it along. If war comes, it’ll find me still working at my peaceful trade.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, cultural highlights, philosophy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Biological Clock

  1. Morning. How is the sleep app able to determine when you’re in the REM state?

    • swabby429 says:

      Gosh, I wish I knew how Samsung engineered that app. Somehow it pigeonholes four categories: awake, REM, light sleep, and deep sleep. I’m guessing that it has something to do with pulse and wrist movement because there is an LED sensor on the back of the watch that contacts the skin of the wrist. I should investigate this further because it puzzles me, too.

  2. bloom|time says:

    Really beautiful musing today. I’m fascinated by the idea of non-linear time as a dimension we are unable to perceive… however, in this mortal plane, the clock does rule! And you have so many lovely ones!

  3. rkrontheroad says:

    I’ve often tried to remain in the mood of a particularly interesting dream, trying to identify why those people and events seemed to get my brain going during sleep. It seems our REM mind is working out things it needs to resolve in some way. It’s always refreshing to have a positive dream, like this one in yours, but that’s not always the case! Interesting that it took such a short time, but seemed quite intense and detailed.

    • swabby429 says:

      My dream episodes have become quite lucid during the past few years. My dreams were vivid and memorable when I was a young boy, too Between childhood and retirement, I rarely remembered having dreamt. Those dreams were fuzzy and vague.

      • rkrontheroad says:

        Interesting… My dreams during my work years were filled with anxiety. In the wrong place, lost, looking for someone, etc. My life is more calm these days and my dreams seem to reflect that (happy to say).

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