A theory of why adults say “don’t blink” and mean it; why with each birthday they shake their head in disbelief and ponder ” where has the time gone.” Many a adult will agree upon a negative correlation between age and the perception of clock time. Meaning, as their age value increases, the amount of minutes in their days and days in their years decreases.. sometimes exponentially. I believe I know why.
Think back to summer days spent on either hot asphalt or luscious lawn, when the sun colour of the sky changing was your only inclination of any time passing. As a child, I remember those summers days as though they were the dominant portion of my life. That the school year was nothing but a brief interruption of a seemingly infinite season of popsicles and freedom. I can remember the exact moment this perception shifted to calendar time, standing on my porch in disbelief that these glory days were nothing but (%) of my year, and that meant the first day of school was approaching in 2 short weeks. I curse this day. From then on I have been aware of where exactly my current position falls in the spectrum of my life. I am constantly away how many days are left in this month, until Christmas, until my birthday. But why is this knowledge harmful, you may be thinking.
I ask you to think about the last time you were unsure of the time of day, or day of the week. Unless you’ve vacationed recently, this is probably a challenging task. As adults, we are constantly aware of where the current minute falls in the hour and how many we have left until our next task, day or event. We are perpetually timing, counting and scheduling our lives. A necessary evil, maybe… for what a chaotic abyss life would be without a calendar. But what is unnecessary is the weight we attribute to these quantified versions of our days. I propose a life where we live moment to moment, instead of minute to minute.
This is where my theory stems from. Most adults cannot grab hold of time because they are never truly living within it. The natural conscious state is to reflect on the past or project into the future. We are constantly analyzing what has just happened, and trying to predict what will happen. We crave a sense of control over future events, and in an effort to achieve this we are perpetually visualizing a loop of possible scenarios of what is to come. Additionally, we are forever ruminating on past experiences- picking apart their contents in hopes of obtaining some kind of intangible truth. While this is all occurring, the present moment decays. We lose the only true moment we have- right now.
I challenge you to make a conscious effort to be intensely aware of the present moment. You may have heard of this concept, it is called mindfulness. There are real scientific studies proving the benefits of mindfulness and the endless ways it contributes to overall health and happiness. And one incredible byproduct of this exercise is that you suddenly have a hold of the time that was otherwise slipping away from you. By living in the now you are no longer measuring life in terms of hours or days, and will be brought back to the blissful ignorance of time.