Darren Lawrence

Time is speeding up! Do you feel it too?

Somehow, we are ALREADY in mid-May. And next month we will be halfway through 2018. Already!

What’s more, this popped up on my Instagram feed the other day – a sentiment I can relate to:

As I get older, and with a life crammed full of responsibilities, duties, appointments, projects, worries (and the occasional bit of fun ?) it seems to me that time really is speeding up. Only this week I received an email from Premier Inn with the subject title – ‘Time is running out Darren…’ They are not wrong!

As an aside, I recently came across an article in New Scientist weekly about time:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23831740-200-quantum-time-is-this-where-the-flow-of-existence-comes-from/

This suggested that ‘time is perhaps the greatest mystery’. We think we know what it is, but we can’t see, smell, taste or touch it (by the way, did you know that clocks run faster in the mountains compared to at sea level, and more slowly at our feet than by our heads?). A line that stood out for me was the following:

While we may think of time as a constant, metronomic beat against which the events of the universe play out, that is an illusion borne out of our own imprecise perception of time. Relativity says there is no single beat to which the cosmos moves.’

Now I’m no Professor Brian Cox, and that blew my mind somewhat.

Anyway, back to the main point, the feeling that time is going more quickly. The last time I checked, there were still 60 seconds in a minute, 24 hours in the day and so on. That hasn’t changed, so something must have changed with my perception of time, right?

Reassuringly, it seems that I am not the only one who has had this thought. In fact, there has been quite a lot of research on this subject, with books and articles written too.  Yes, it really is a ‘thing’! A phenomenon.

There are a number of theories for this, outlined in articles from Scientific American magazineThe Independent , the BBC and Psychology Today

In case you don’t have time to read the articles, they talk about how research has found that older people tend to perceive time as moving quicker, for a variety of reasons such as how we remember new experiences versus routine ones (called the holiday paradox), and ‘proportional theory’ which states that as we get older our sense of present time seems shorter compared to our lifespan.

When we are children we think that life will go on forever. Then as we age, the realisation that this isn’t the case starts to dawn on us. Like gravity, time affects us all, it’s the one thing we can’t stop, control, get back, and perhaps our most precious commodity. Once it’s gone, it’s gone! Without wishing to be morbid…but it is fact…none of us will live forever and none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Therefore, how should we deal with this? How do we slow down our perception of time?

We could be morose about it and feel as though the egg timer is running out. Or, an alternative view might be having gratitude for the time we have now, consider the way we spend it, understand what is important to us, work out all the things we want to do, and damn well go and do them!

The good news is the researchers suggest some additional things we can do to change our perception of time. These include:

  • Learning new things
  • Creating new memories
  • Exploring new places
  • Keeping our brains active
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness 

What’s your experience? Have you ever had the thought that time is going more slowly/more quickly than ‘normal’? How can you build some of the suggestions above into your life? I would love to hear from you in the comments box below.

 ‘We all got old at breakneck speed, slow it down go easy on me.’

The Vaccines

Darren Lawrence is a personal performance coach helping individuals achieve their goals in sport, career and life. For an initial conversation about how coaching can help you, please use the contact details on this page. 

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