"I like good strong words that mean something."- Louisa May Alcott

I’m haunted by her words, a dear friend now deceased who greeted us at her home one New Year’s Day. With a touch of judgment, she commented on our rush to fit her party in between a hockey tournament that morning and a trip to Costco over noon hour—all in preparation for an out-of-town trip the next day.

“Be careful,” she said, “it all goes by so fast.”

Maybe that’s your experience, I thought to myself, but it doesn’t apply to me. At that time, I was waiting for a three-year-old to be toilet trained, a job that delivered “seniority” and a mortgage to be paid off; time didn’t seem to be speeding by any too quickly.

But that was then. As life settled, annual events turned routine and children grew into adults; time began to speed up on me. Last December my husband and I were both cynically delighted at napkins we found for a family party, “These are perfect”, I cried.

They read, “Didn’t we just have Christmas?” Hallmark had said it all.

The napkins (and the reaction they got) assured me that it’s not my imagination. I swear if time goes by any faster these days, I’m going to wake up one morning several decades into the future like some science fiction time traveler.

A personal question to slow up time in my life

So a few months ago I set out on a quest to figure out if there was a way I could “slow down time”— not buy buying face cream in a bottle or covering up my roots. I wanted to seriously look at what I could do in my day-to-day life to make passing moments a little less of a blur—and make at least some of them more like those never-ending years (so it seemed at the time) of my youth.

As I started digging around on the subject, I found there’s some pretty serious research on the matter (obviously done by those with time on their hands to figure it all out.)

One hypothesis that it’s all a matter of perception, based on how many year’s we’ve had to experience life. Time ‘feels’ like it is going faster because our perception of time changes as each unit of time becomes a smaller percentage of the total time in which we’ve been alive. For example, when you’re 4 years old, one year is the equivalent to 25 percent of your life experience. When you are 50 years old, one year is the equivalent to 2 percent of your life experience.

In short, each year we live seems to be a shorter and shorter unit of time. Ack!

So here is my first attempt at slowing up time. And when I tried it, it actually worked.

Slowing up time exercise no. 1

Plan a day, preferably on the weekend, with absolutely no “to do’s”. Put the list away and make it through the day until six o’clock without the feeling you need to accomplish anything at in. In short “waste” your day, but waste it deliberately.

Like going off caffeine, the experience may make you restless, perhaps a bit grumpy. But living the day without an agenda and responding to the world around you, stretches out the hours into a very long day—a long day to be savoured and enjoyed.

You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.

…Every year is getting shorter; never seem to find the time…

from “Time” from The Dark Side of the Moon: Pink Floyd


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