Why is time moving faster?
I have this idea I’m trying to flesh out, about how we experience the passage of time. Being a kid lasted a forever. Days, summers, and years crawled by, and it took a lifetime to become a teenager. Even then, with the busyness of high school life, I marked off the days to graduation in my planner like an inmate serving a long-term sentence. Time in my twenties moved more slowly than time does now, and it doesn’t seem dependent on how packed my days are, because I’ve become less and less busy through my life (so far). So my idea is that we experience time differently based upon how much time we’ve experienced. Like, time travels exponentially faster as time travels. Katelyn suggested we gather experience like a snowball gathers snow as it rolls down a hill, although that of course implies a slowing. Maybe more like an avalanche picks up speed and mass as it crashes down a mountain.
I definitely don’t think we get smarter, as in quicker or wittier, as we get older, but it does seem like we get wiser. How do we define wisdom? I think it’s a recognition of repeated patterns. I also think it’s the knowledge that we aren’t witness to any objective reality, but are interpreters of a messy, contradictory world, full of compromise and grey areas. So, what if as we get older it just takes us less time to process everything? Not just because we’ve seen it before, but because we’ve learned to live with uncertainties and indeterminacies. Now, that’s the kind of thing we’re supposed to be wary of, as in the story of the three pots. We’re supposed to stay open-minded, leaving room for new ideas and experiences. But does that actually happen? Is that even possible, or desirable? I think rather than the idea of leaving “room” in our minds for more stuff to come in, we actually exercise flexibility. As more and more experience piles up, we don’t really throw out any old foundations (unless they were built on a sinkhole to begin with, in which case we have mid-life crises, born-again episodes, and nervous breakdowns). Instead, we stretch a bit, fine-tune and bend, growing new webs only as needed.
The earth spins once a day, and orbits the sun once a year, but I think the subjective way we experience time is just as real. But why? Can faster, more efficient pattern recognition, with the ability to accept the unknown and unknowable, be the answer? We also thought maybe time just travels more slowly when you’re miserable. And, “time flies when you’re having fun.” This could be more valid. Being a kid and an adolescent and a young adult were all a lot more miserable than being an adult is, unless you’ve had a very unfortunate adulthood. But let’s think about lonely old people, as in the Magnetic Fields song, “When You’re Old and Lonely.” The lyric goes:
when you’re old and lonely
and the rush of life is past
days go by too slowly
and the years go by too fast
Does that make any sense? That days can creep by, but the years still fly? I dunno. Humor me and discuss.