Time moves in one direction, memory in another.
- William Gibson
The subjective experience of time is highly variable. We’ve all experienced it. Sometimes days feel like months, months seem like years. The opposite is also true at times. Years go by like months and weeks pass in the blink of an eye!
Why is that?
Joshua Foer believes Memories are what make up our lives. He says we remember what happens to us by positioning these events in time relative to other events. We accumulate life experiences by integrating them into a web of other chronological memories.
Time seems more dense the more we contribute to that web of memories. Meaning time seems longer or passes more slowly. One way of looking at it is that monotony collapses time while novelty unfolds it.
Time Passing Quickly
A real world example would be if you were working what you felt to be a boring job. Your days would begin to blur into one another and time seems to go by very fast. Before you know it you are receiving awards for working in the same department for 25 years!
Time Passing Slowly
This means you can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life but experience a short one…
So how do we combat this?
I’m assuming that is what most of us want to do. Of course there are times in life where we say, I can’t wait until __________ happens. When people expect more enjoyable events we often wish our time away. As I get older and realize how valuable time really is I wish I had more of it. I want it to pass more slowly so I may use it and enjoy it longer.
A few things I do to slow down my perception of time passing are:
- Change up my routine (work, training, weekend activities)
- Take a trip or vacation
- Try something new
New experiences are key in stretching out our perception of time.
The Art Of Adaptation:
We control our perception and thus our experience of time.