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Time Takes a Long Time… or Does It?

Time Takes a Long Time… or Does It?

Have you ever noticed that time tends to stand still or move faster than we want it to, depending on the activity? I’ve often wondered why that is sinceTime Takes a Long Time… or Does It? we all get the same amount of time in a day: 86,400 seconds/ 1,440 minutes/ 24 hours. If it’s all the same, why does the passage of time feel different? Time takes a long time…or does it? The phrase ”time flies when you are having fun” came from somewhere, right?

If you want to test how slow time can move just watch water boil; not only is it boring, but it seems to take forever. Or stand behind someone at an ATM; it always seems like that person takes forever to complete a transaction whereas when it’s your turn, you feel like you are efficient and fast. Last week I mentioned CrossFit, where many of the workouts and exercises are time based. I can tell you from experience that 60 seconds of burpees feels like it never ends! ?

On the flip side, my 5 day trip to Boston with friends felt like it lasted 30 seconds. When I am doing things that I enjoy, time seems to fly by very quickly. It’s hard to believe that it is already July and I turned 52 a few days ago! I swear I was 21 just yesterday, where does the time go?

Yet (unlike when I’m doing CrossFit), there are times that a pleasant and relaxing activity such as meditation or watching the reflection of firelight through my glass of whiskey also feels as if time is slowing down. It turns out there is something called time perception, which is a person’s subjective experience of the passage of time or duration of an event, which usually differs notably from the event itself. This perception varies according to the situation and is most directly impacted by our emotions and moods; hence something unpleasant or boring feels longer and something fun goes by quickly. It’s more complicated than just that, but you get the gist. Of course, this is the exact opposite of what we would all prefer!

We each have the same amount of time in a day, but how we feel about what we do with it matters. We can’t really slow down or speed up time, but our perception of time can change based on how we approach activities. Maybe if we approach them positively, perhaps they will not feel quite so long, unless we want them to!  ?

“Time moves slowly but passes quickly.”– Alice Walker

Have a time filled weekend.