Before I go on, I’d just like to say that some of my favorite quotes are from Groucho Marx. One that comes to mind is “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Gotta love that.
Okay. So it’s hard for me to believe that the end of 2019 is fast approaching. It seems like this year flew by. Even faster than last year.
They say that as you get older, your perception of time changes. Days are shorter. Years are shorter. I’ve certainly experienced that.
I’ve read one theory that goes something like this: When you are two years old, a day is a much larger percentage of your entire life than when you are 50 years old. But if that is the cause, then one would think we would perceive a “speeding up” of time even at the tender age of ten years old as compared to two years old. So personally, I think that theory is hogwash. Although, one can’t deny the math. But math, like statistics, never tells the whole story.
Another theory is that when we are young everything is new. Our days are packed with new experiences and learning all sorts of things. As we get older and things become more routine, we lose our sense of time passing. I think this might be closer to the mark. I often come to the end of the day more rapidly than I thought I might and when I look casually back at it, it seems sometimes that I’ve done nothing during the day. But if I actually sit down and list all that I did, the list is enormous. It’s just that I’ve done all those things thousands of times and so give little thought to them as I am doing them.
Consider learning to tie your own shoe laces. At first it is difficult. You might have to start over several times before you get it right. When you are older, you do it without a thought; a few seconds and it’s done.
Physics has a slightly different take on the whole thing. Mind time and clock time are two very different things and they flow at different rates. Our perception of time changes constantly, depending on the activities we’re engaged in, our age, and even how much rest we get.
According to Adrian Bejan (a mechanical engineering professor), the passage of time is related to what we see. As physical mental-image processing time and the rapidity of images we take in changes, so does our perception of time. Bejan says that time is happening in the mind’s eye. It is related to the number of mental images the brain encounters and organizes and the state of our brains as we age. When we get older, the rate at which changes in mental images are perceived decreases because of several transforming physical features, including vision, brain complexity, and later in life, degradation of the pathways that transmit information. And this shift in image processing leads to the sense of time speeding up. He also asserts that the sensing of time passing is different for every individual because we are all different. I won’t argue with that.
No matter the mechanism, no matter the cause, I know for a fact that time is passing faster and faster every year. Doesn’t matter that there are the same number of seconds in a minute, minutes in an hour, and hours in a day.
Maybe it’s very egocentric, but I can only perceive time as I perceive time. I can’t experience it as my husband does or any other person. And it’s definitely speeding up. I sometimes wonder if I have enough of it. I question how much time I have.
And then there’s the answer.