The new year is the time to commit to slowing down time.
Time passes faster as we get older.
It seems that way, anyways, right?
The new year is often a time when we reflect upon our past. Some create new goals, set resolutions, or give the new year a theme. Crafting ourselves a vision of the next 365 days can be a useful and healthy exercise.
I sat down with a piece of paper, a pen, and a cold adult beverage during the first week of December to reflect upon this year and set a direction for the next. And that’s when it hit me.
Damn. This year flew by.
In the present, time flies and time drags.
In the present, fun makes time fly.
When I was in elementary school, my favorite game to play at recess was Boys Chase Girls. The rules of the game resided in the title: the boys chased the girls. We didn’t have the largest imaginations at that age, I suppose!
We didn’t play Boys Chase Girls every day. I didn’t understand it then like I do now, but it’s difficult to convince girls — especially at that age — that this game would be so fun for them. On the rare occasion that the girls agreed to be chased, we chased. And boy was it fun! Those recesses were the recesses that didn’t last quite long enough. We were having fun, and time flew.
But this can work the other way around, of course.
In the present, boredom makes time drag on. Remember counting down the seconds before school let out for break? The second hand seemed stuck.
Time works differently when we look backwards.
Time has only one speed when we reminisce: faster than greased lightening.
I haven’t played a game of baseball in over five years, but it feels like I just hung my spikes up last week. I’ve been out of college for more than a year, but it feels as if I just walked across the stage yesterday.
Think about memorable moments in your life.
Do you remember when you graduated? How about the first date with your partner? Maybe there is a concert stands out to you? How long ago did you wear a mullet?
Time has moved fast since then.
We’re distracted, we’re more boring, and we’re not as good at remembering.
When we get busier, we can lose presence. It’s not difficult to work our way into autopilot in our day-to-day routines. Our schedules become predictable, or taken over completely by others’ schedules. It’s easy to get distracted from the moment we’re living in right now.
As we move into autopilot with our lives, we become more boring compared to what we used to be. We have less memorable and novel experiences. Rather than seeking out new experiences, we tend to wait for the experiences to come to us.
Because we’re not chasing new experiences, they happen less often. Fun is spaced out. In theory, fewer fun memories should make the later years seem longer. Less fun, longer years. But it doesn’t work that way. Paradoxically, fewer fun memories later in life speeds time up because we only remember the good times way back in the past. The further back our memory goes, the more it feels as if the time has flown.
“Oh, where did the time go?”
When the new year comes, commit to slowing time down.
Instead of being distracted, commit yourself to being present. Be intentional with your schedule, and focus on the moment at hand when you can.
Instead of becoming more boring, commit yourself to creating new experiences with the ones you love. Don’t let money or time hold you back.
Put time back on your side.