Do you ever feel like time speeds up the older you get?
Let’s face it, our minds are filled with daily chores, activities, stress, and hobbies. It always feels like there’s not enough time in a day to get everything done. But remember when you were a kid and you could enjoy the great outdoors with the feeling that you had all the time in the world? Remember when that four week summer vacation felt like it lasted nearly an eternity? Why does that feeling of endlessness fade away as we get older?
I believe it is because we are so caught up in our daily routines that our minds do not process any new information, or memories, that makes time slow down. As we get older, things become too familiar. It explains why we have such distinct memories of when we were younger as opposed to all the years blending together when we are older.
We are not living in the present moment, and we are losing that mindfulness we had when we were younger.
Take a minute to reflect on this writing sample that came from David Foster Wallace’s essay called, This Is Water.
There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?”
And the two young fish swim for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “what the hell is water?”
This quote is so true about young adults. We are so caught up in our cell phones, and in our selves, that we do not take the time to enjoy what’s around us.
It is important to learn to see things as the older fish sees them. We need to stop our busy tasks and take time to enjoy the air that encompasses us. We need to enjoy how it smells, how it feels, how it tastes, how it sings, and how it looks. We need to practice mindfulness.
When we were kids, our minds were fresh and ready to soak in new information and experiences. We were living in the moment then. But now we’ve seen the seasons change many times. How’s it any different from the previous years?
I read an article about how an author described her experience of taking a break from writing and watching Fall happen.
Well, doesn’t everyone watch Fall happen?
It seemed like common sense to me. But when she described her experience of being present and mindful, calm and relaxed, and rejuvenated, I was wondering why my Fall experience felt nothing like hers.
As Fall was approaching, I remembered her words, and decided to try and ‘watch Fall happen’.
I started hiking more. But instead of just cruising through the trail, I stopped and admired the colors on the trees that surrounded me. I stopped on bridges to watch the water flow under my feet. I listened to the sounds that encompassed me like the squirrels running across the leaves and the birds whistling above my head. I also listened to complete silence and tranquility.
I felt the mindfulness growing within me. I started to enjoy my commute to work, admiring the beautiful scenery on the George Washington Parkway. I began to take the back roads home after work to mix things up, knowing it would take me longer to get home. I felt more relaxed, present, and open to the world around me.
And more importantly, I felt time slow down.
It was then I realized what the author had meant by ‘watching Fall happen’. It was then I finally understood the way the older fish sees the water around him.
When we finally take the time to notice what is around us, then time will slow down. So next time you are driving home from your daily commute, take the time to notice something new, or take a different path home. Notice something new within your daily routine like the bubbles that cover your hands when you wash the dishes.
Mix your life up. If you keep doing the same thing day after day, everything will mesh together and time will speed away. Don’t let that happen. Life is too precious to have it slip away from you. Be that curious, mindful kid you once were and time will slow down.