The Great Hidden Sea of Time

I look up. A flock of birds are hovering above. It’s pale and fumy and cold. The sun should be setting in an hour or two. There comes Mr. Eyvindarson, on his way back to home from work.

If this would mean to be a story there would have been something about it. There would be a storm or a bad news or good. But it isn’t, it’s just me in my sickbed wondering what and how am I going to publish something and failing every time. Henceforth, Mr. Eyvindarson will be safe and sound and he’ll only live as long as someone is reading this blog.

Time slows down by 10 times when we’re sick and bored and unable to pull off anything whatsoever. I think this is something most of my readers would agree upon. As we grow up time seems to move faster than it used to. Similarly when we are on a vacation or having a good time with our family and friends time seems to pass by in the blink of an eye. But it doesn’t when we are bored.

Back when I was younger or just a kid I remember it’d take us forever to reach to my uncles’ or grandparents’ house. Even though it would only take half an hour to be there, looking back at it, now it seems it used to be more than an hour and so on. But when I travel the same road now it only seems “10 or 15 minutes”. Quite mysterious indeed. It does not matter what age we are on, when we think back to our childhood we always feel just how agonizingly long it’d  take for anything good to come.

So, ostensibly there’s a difference between time itself and the way we perceive time. Is it just an illusion or there’s a scientific explanation for this event to occur?

Actually there are a couple of reasons behind it. And one of them could be the telescoping effect a.k.a the forward telescoping. Telescoping effect refers to the temporal displacement of an event whereby people perceive recent events as being more remote than they are and distant events as being more recent than they are. It’s the reason why we say: “It’s November, already?”

Another popular theory behind this event is that our perception of time may be in proportion to the length of our lifespan. Knows as “the proportional theory“. Let’s say I’m 25; so one year is only 1/25 of my age. But if I say I’m 48, then one year is 1/48 of my age. So when I’m 25, one year is 4% of my life but when I’m 48, one year is only 2.08% of my life. So, our subjective sense leads us to perceive a year shorter than it actually it for this reason.

An article on the scientificamerican says, “our experience of time varies with whatever we are doing and how we feel about it. In fact, time does fly when we are having fun. Engaging in a novel exploit makes time appear to pass more quickly in the moment. But if we remember that activity later on, it will seem to have lasted longer than more mundane experiences.

The reason? Our brain encodes new experiences, but not familiar ones, into memory, and our retrospective judgment of time is based on how many new memories we create over a certain period. In other words, the more new memories we build on a weekend getaway, the longer that trip will seem in hindsight.”

There is another reason behind this experience of the speeding up of time and that is the reminiscence bump. A tendency in older adults to have increased recollection for events that occur during their adolescence and early adulthood. As adolescence and early adulthood are the time when we learn most of the new things and skills we tend to over-present and over-exaggerate them in our middle and late Adulthood. This memory cluster helps time speeds up with age. Because on reflection these memories seem to have lasted longer than they actually have.

One of the other reason could be that as we grow older the world around us becomes more familiar and the amount of perceptual information we absorb decreases with it. Take a song you have been listening to and loving for years. But you have sort of lost all the interest towards it as it has nothing new to offer anymore. So when it’s played in front of you it just finishes in the blink of an eye. Not because the song becomes shorter as it ages but you don’t really pay any real attention to it. So, in other words when the newness in our lives is somewhat lost we tend to lose our interest towards it. So, even though time is as it always have been it seems shorter because we don’t pay any real attention to it. And as a result it seems sped up.

So, the only way we can “slow down” time is to change our living and lifestyle. Always remember to notice how your 2 minutes of plank routine in the morning seems 2 hours to finish off.


Photo by Sindre Strøm from Pexels

Photo from Pixabay

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