Christmas 2012 I found myself sat in my mum’s car. I watched the bell tower of my grandparent’s home village grow bigger behind one of the hills ahead. I remembered all the times I spent here in my childhood and lost in memories, I said: “It’s crazy how fast time passes by when you get older…”
My mum gave me a fleeting look, not keeping her eyes off the street for too long and then she answered: “I know. It’s become normal to me. But I’m surprised you feel that way already…”
“I know, I remember the days feeling endless back then. Now they just seem to disappear into thin air”, my eyes wandered along the street, that started to bend to the left, where it turned into a big bridge that crossed a small valley. The villagers had been complaining about the noise pollution it caused for years. My mum gave a sigh: “And it’s not gonna get better, Robin. It’s not gonna get better.”
It’s a commonly known phenomenon. The more time we collect on our lifelong resume, the faster it seems to pass by.
While reason tells us that time can not speed up, we feel as if it seeps through our fingers like desert sand. But how does this happen, and how can we prevent our lives from speeding up?
I am happy to tell you, that I have found a very simple formula to lose speed on a tremendous level.
Most people see time as a linear trail. Others claim it’s circular. And I, I don’t really care about those philosophies at this moment in time.
What I do care about, however, is our perception of time.
Daring the common believe, that there is only one reality, I think that there are just as many realities as there are living creatures. What’s a reality based statement for one person, can be completely far off for another. Especially humans are very self centered and our thinking is not based on a world we are in, but on a world that surrounds us.
So, thinking about it this way, we all might have come to an agreement, how we measure time. And yet, it’s very likely, we all have a completely different understanding of it, based on how the world around us shapes our personal reality.
And this is also a reasonable explanation, why children experience time so differently that grown ups. While adults have an easier time agreeing how a clock works and how to use it, children don’t give it as much weight in their tiny life – and in this case, more importantly: In their tiny world. Why is the tiny world more important than the tiny life expression?
It might seem like fidgeting around words, but actually it makes all the difference and even enables adults to bend their time back to passing slower, if properly understood!
And since we don’t know too much about other species’ perception of time, we turn our eyes to a part of this world, that we know very well, because we used to be it: children.
After all, the only reason we feel like time quickens, is that there was a time in our lives when it felt slower. And we all know what time that was, right? It was our childhood.
There are plenty of suspicions why children experience time as slower, but three of these theories seem the most reasonable:
It’s quite obvious: If you don’t yet know, how time in our world is said to function, and your only understanding of it is based on sleepy- and wakey time, you don’t give it as much importance in the first place. There are two main points in your day, that are definite: When the sun sets and when the sun rises. Besides that you might have other fixed times incorporated by your family, like meal times. But these days even those tend to fluctuate a lot.
As an adult, you have 24 main points of reference every day. All of them split down to 60 more reference points. And it even goes down one more step with another 60. If we leave fixed rituals like meal times or fitness center schedules out of the equation, we end up with 86.400 daily points of reference that we can find ourselves staring at, depending on what we are doing. You can imagine what it would look like, if we extended this calculation to calendars or decades.
The shorter the distances between our points of reference, the more time seems to pass by. In other words: An adult’s day consists of 86.400 short ‘times’. A child’s, however, consists of two rather long ‘times’. Everything in between is filled with the things we spend our time with. Who, do you think, will feel more stress in the thing, they do? Children, who ‘have to’ do this one thing within two points of reference, or adults who’ve got ten thousands of them?
Which brings me to theory number two.
Now we’ve got these very brief 86.400 points to squeeze all of our appointments in. A child, on the other hand, has two very long stretches between their points of reference.
In addition we find ourselves collecting more and more responsibilities and deadlines to pack into these 86.400 seconds a day, while a happy child simply uses it’s time doing what feels great and right in this very moment in time.
With a deadline you will always feel more stressed than without. Makes sense, right?
Sadly, the new experiences made in a day decrease increasingly with every year we grow older. Kids are relatively new to this planet, filled with spectacular beauty to find out about. However, the more you turn into an adult, the more you get accustomed to your surroundings. All of a sudden, the neighbours dog is good for a brief pet, but not for an excited cry of joy anymore.
All of a sudden The highest tower in your city doesn’t seem that unclimbable anymore – and why climb it, there’s an elevator inside.
As an adult you don’t only fall into a schedule of appointments and responsibilities, but also in one of things you’ve seen on a regular basis in the past. We don’t stop as often to explore the trail of ants anymore. We don’t get startled by the colours of a sunset as often anymore. Flowers look pretty, but due to more important things, we don’t think of ways to work with them creatively anymore, while a child embraces the idea to make a crown out of them.
The younger you are, the more new things there are to experience. The more things there are to experience, the slower time seems to pass by.
I stumbled upon the solutions to speeding time before I even started thinking about those theories. It seemed to me that time was flying by in the times I was settled, while my days became much longer when I was travelling.
That said, I don’t think you necessarily need to travel to get similar effects, but understanding what sets a child’s perception of time apart, helps us implement practices into our life, that help us become masters of our time again.
Theory number one we can’t and often times don’t want to do too much about. After all,having an agreement with the other people around us, helps communicate and improves our social life. When you have 86.400 points of reference a day it’s simply easier to set time for a date with friends than it is with only two of them. After all, we’ve come a long way from saying “Let’s meet when the sun hits the horizon.”
So, while there might be ways to ignore the race of clock arms (I don’t wear a watch. Not only because I don’t like the looks of them on me, but also because you can’t look at the watch as often this ways), there are also a lot of positive sides to it, that I wouldn’t want to miss out on.
It’s theory two and three that come in very handy if you’d like to bend time. The lovely thing about it is, that they will also improve the quality of your life incredibly. I know they have for me.
In our society it’s hard to let go of stress. All those appointments, deadlines and pressure of getting things done fast seem to be expected. If you cut down on your weekly working hours, it’s most likely some people will judge you as lazy. Why? Because they were programmed to. Just like you. So don’t build up a grudge against them. They simply haven’t seen their own options yet.
Time is also thought of as equalling money in our society. It seems as if you had to cut down your share of money, if you try to get more time for yourself again. And if you play by society’s rules, that’s not too far off. But there are other ways to go about this thought. Because, if you let loose of the beliefs that were planted into the back of your head, you will understand, when I say, that money actually simply is money. Most people only think that they have to exchange their time for money, and do so. But that’s a whole different topic and I’ll keep that for another time.
It is possible to make money, exchanging it for time, but also without. The trick is, to exchange it for your creations instead, if I may give you a little hint there.
But I can tell you, either way: Whether you exchange your time or your creations for your money: It is possible to bend and stretch time either way. The trick is, to find out how to reduce your responsibilities and get back more time for exploring – theory number three.
After all, responsibilities aren’t always attached to making money and many times people only think they have to do something, even though, they just got stuck in a way of thinking in their own reality.
So: Cut every unnecessary responsibility. Try to banish them from your life as far as possible. Make it a game and challenge you further and further.
As my friend Tara said so wisely in Season ONE, Episode TWO of About Wings:
It’s a matter of finding a way instead of excuses. It is your life, your reality. Bend it. And you will be able to bend time.
Theory number three is all about exploring. The more new experiences you collect, the more time will slow down. That’s a promise I can almost give you guarantee for, because I’ve experienced it myself.
Get creative. Meet new people, visit new places, do new kinds of work.
Once you figured out how to reduce stress win back more of your time. You mustn’t use all of this time to relax, or otherwise, it will come true, what other people keep saying: “Wouldn’t you get bored, if you didn’t have a job?”
Not everybody sees this sentence as bullshit as I do. It is a matter of spending your time wisely, not of spending it to earn money.
So, if you want to stretch the time you’ve got in a day, make sure to experience new things on a daily basis. Not only will time feel slower, but also you will feel more satisfied. You will soon realise, that there are better and more rewarding ways to use this precious life than making money.
And even if you want to spend your time making money, why not make your money by making new experiences?
Impossible you say? Bullshit, I say. After all, that’s what I’m doing right now.
So, you might have figured it out already, but still, I want to tell you how I turned life upside down for myself and reduced the speed of my days tremendously.
I’ve never liked responsibility for unnecessary things. While I always try to keep everybody – including myself – happy, I also avoid responsibilities as well as possible.
And I have no problem saying this out loud. Some people might judge me for it and say, that my behaviour is childish. And yes, it might be. And that’s okay. After all, it’s children I take as one inspiration when it comes to improving the quality of my life.
I’m not talking about simply ignoring responsibilities. I’m talking about not even taking them on, if I don’t feel they improve my life in a way that can be replicated with less of it.
When it comes to change, you’ve got my story pretty much in front of your eyes. People keep talking about seeing new cultures and meeting new people, seeing exciting places, when they talk about travelling. But let me tell you, there’s so much more to it.
When people talk about new cultures, people, places, they only mean the cultures, people and places they can think of. Same counts for the person listening to the sentence. And therefore I am very restricted in my means of telling you what you can experience, living a life of travels – nomadic or not.
It’s one thing to experience ‘new’ things that you expected. Things you planned to experience. They only widen your horizon to a certain extent. And if you experience things that you already expected, the feeling of it is by far not the same as experiencing things that you wouldn’t have dreamed of seeing, feeling or doing.
I let the adventure direct my route. Circumstances and an attitude, open to things that don’t always seem like they are inside your comfort zone, can maneuver you into situations you never thought were possible, you never thought, you’d experience.
Travelling surely isn’t the only way to get similar effects of slowing time, but it’s the only one I’ve found so far, that does it to such an extent. Travelling, you feel like you’ve got much more time to do much more amazing things with your life. And ultimately make it a happy and fulfilled life. And that’s the goal after all, isn’t it?
Have you ever thought, you are losing more and more time, the older you get?
Have you ever thought doing something about it? Or have you simply accepted it to be something you can’t change?
What do you think you can do about it? And why?
So many questions and so little answers. Join the conversation and let us know how you feel about the topic in the comment section below!
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