Sunday, June 29, 2008
Summer on the lake...
Something is on my mind though. It has to do with how quickly the seasons and years seem to be flying by and how important it seems to be to seize the moment because of that. First some lyrics from arguably the best album ever.
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way. ...
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...
-- "Time" from The Dark Side of the Moon: Pink Floyd
It's common knowledge that our perception of the passage of time can be influenced by psychological factors: time flies when we're busy, but really drags when we're waiting. (Stare at a clock and wait for a minute to pass. Or wait for someone on hold on the phone, or for Windows to load.) These are generally short term experiences, but what about long periods of time such as years? Is there something other than transient psychological factors affecting our time perception?
We usually think about the years of our lives in terms of decades: our teens, twenties, thirties, etc. This is sort of a linear view: that all our years are equal; that clock time is our time, through which we move at a uniform pace. But perception, it turns out, is not linear.
This simple picture doesn't square with our perceptions as we age. By our middle years, at least, most of us have become aware that something is screwy, that a very slow but profound change has been sneaking up on us: the seasons and years that used to crawl by are now racing by. Where are the long, leisurely summers we knew as children? If it seemed forever to get through grade five, what happened to last year? Why do we now seem so rushed by life? Where are all the things we wanted to accomplish, but never seemed to find the time for?
There is another clue that our lives are not running in a linear, clock like fashion: when we try to remember back to the earliest years of our childhood, they seem incredibly distant, like a far horizon that always recedes as we attempt to approach it. Why should we find it so much harder to remember the first few years of life than to remember later years, even after a longer time? And why do parents see their children growing up so much faster than they did?
Research supports all this - young bastards with time on their hands I say.
Still with me here? What's time like for you? Do you buy the theory that it really is speeding up (in your experience)? Do you care? Will Gary ever stop asking questions?
That is a lovely picture.
When you're in motion, you miss the millions of things around you that slow down time.
Don't believe me? Try driving away for 20 miles and parking. The long walk home will be finely detailed and leisurely.
You'll remember it far longer than you will the 30-minute drive.
Hello! We need them to walk. No need to be grossed out. Unless of course your toe nails are green.
Gotta run. Will READ your post later! I'm going to go cover Barack Obama! He's in KC today. Watch for that on my blog.
Sarah - you too! Come on, admit it, we have a thing for feet. Is it so bad?? Can't wait to see your Obama piece - show us video.
And that's one heck of an album.
This is the kind of post you do that I like best. It reminds me of your old Live Wire (?) essays.
And to answer your question, time is NOT on my side.
I also love
"Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be." damn, I love Pink Floyd...
as for the time going faster as you age, I agree and disagree, I think perhaps as you age you have more of a life to look back on giving you the perspective of faster moving time. I look at my kids periodically and think "how did I get here" (another great set of lyrics) - but I know how I did. I like living more slowly and taking mental snapshots on the way. there was a time when I was basically on my own in the middle of nowhere with three tiny kids and I had moments where I wanted to 'hurry through this' but even then, I really didn't want to speed things up. life is too short, and too full of miracles to hurry (that sun will just race up behind you again), and we'll all be dead in the end - so why rush towards that?
Callooh, I like the insights. Sounds like you have the right attitude and that being present with what is might be one of the slow-down keys.
As the sum total increases of all of our past experiences the idea of future time becomes relative to that; hence a notion of time to accelerate relative to age. In other words we tend to think of our past as if it is a constant, but as life experience expands; time must logically accelerate to be truly representative of that perceived constant of past experience.
In everyday life however increased automation also becomes more prevalent as previously confirmed pathways in thinking mean we usually spend much less time relatively in problem solving within the brain so that each day seems to pass more quickly, as there seems to be there is less to remember. There isn’t the case, it just we are not conscious of it.
An example is travelling to a difficult location where you need a rather detailed directory. You take the same time to get there as to drive home, but the return trip doesn’t seems to take nearly as long because you spend less conscious time thinking about it all.
Lindsay, that's interesting. The story stretches out much longer behind us as we pass (likely) middle age, doesn't it? The same way the last chapters of a good book race by in the reading. Conscious of the journey is another insight. Thanks mate.
is that another clever way of saying you're in a rut?
It comes to me that one day I must die
I do not ask a martyrs death
to burn and hack a path
that's followed by the crowd.
I do not ask a glorious death
that warms the heart and
makes the world a better place.
I do not ask some special death
that makes the news around the town.
if I may choose,
bring me an ordinary death
that ends the story of my life,
not like some pages missing from a tale
but as a punctuation mark,
dots that ends a sentence,
paragraph or verse;
that coming in its rightful place
compels the reader
close the book,
"Now that was good."
the last line is my favourite.
I was thinking too about how time seems to drag when we were younger. I think part of it is that as children, we wait for things, days, and events to hurry up and come already. It's like we look forward to things happening to us. But as adults, we might be trying to avoid things from happening, such as old age or other such natural events to happen, and hence, because we don't want certain things to arrive in our life, it seems that we are heading in that direction that much faster. Does that make sense? It certainly does in my head. Hahaha.
*SIGH* The canoe looks heavenly.
Is that another clever way of saying you're in a rut?-
The natural accumulation of life experience in many different outcomes and approaches residing in our minds (previous confirmed pathways) I think adds enormously to our total life experience. Previously confirmed pathways are just that; what we know and how it affected us at that point in time which can help us to proceed or cope with our life challenges. And having that accumulated life experience is likely to lead to more spontaneity, openness and awareness; for as time flies by life’s experience will be our great teacher, but I might add Teachers Whisky (in moderation) can also be the great experience.
Anyway time is speeding by for me at this minute. Summer is never long enough and the kids are moving out in record numbers! It seems only a moment ago I was surround by 4 young children and struggling to keep it all together as time dragged by.
About your time theme.
I believe your observations are correct. But there is an additional issue. There is the perception of "individual time", the time that a singular human being acknowledges.
But there is also a "universal time" that is not stagnant but dynamic. The later is speeding up and compounds the subjective feeling of individual time-perception.
I am only throwing this in to make you more confused and think longer about it. Maybe you gain ... some time.
the view from the canoe took my breath away. water like glass, and i can almost smell the sun on my skin. enjoy your time @ home.
and tip the canoe over now and then, just for fun.
PS - will get to lounge in my own canoe next week! Pictures/video to follow! Stay tuned!!!
anyhow..looove the picture as I've spent many a time in a canoe in BC in my VERY early years..but the fact that i can remember it albeit stuck in the middle sans oar tells you that I was blissfully in my element..
happy rowing G..
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