Musings on 2018 — An Insightful Read for the New Year

The big day is here. The day upon which millions of people around the world formulate big plans and grandiose ideas as to how their life will be that much better this year than the last.

In celebration of such an event I took upon the monumental task of hitting the unsubscribe button dozens of times on useless junk emails that clutter my personal inbox daily. Big plans for 2018 indeed.

There have been several articles I posted on LinkedIn within the last year that seemed to garner quite a bit of, dare I say, controversy. A couple of those recent topics focused on social media. More specifically how social media platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat are “tearing apart the social fabric of society” — Chamath Palihapitiya.

That got me thinking about the perception of time as it’s related to technology and social media. Why is it that most people seem to share the common belief that time speeds up as we get older? What a strange phenomenon.

As a kid I frequently recall time not moving fast enough. It seemed like eternity before I could turn 16 and drive a car, or turn 21 and drink alcohol, eh hem, legally. As an adult, however, I never seem to have enough time in the day.

I noticed a shift with the new generation of young adults and kids. It seems their perception of time is the same as mine. Nowadays I hear my stepkids constantly saying things like, “wow we’re here already?” or “our winter break is over already?”. Gone are the days of, “are we there yet?”.

The one common denominator here now that was not present when I was a kid is that we all have access to interactive technology that never leaves our side. Does this mean, in effect, that technology has a direct correlation on speeding up time?

I’m sure if you asked kids or adults in modern day tech prolific countries how they perceive time as compared to those living by simpler means you’d get a very different response. Consequently, we seem to have found a form of time travel.

What all of this seems to come down to is our perception of time and how that corresponds to our reality. If time can be manipulated by things like technology or perhaps even just living in fast pace cities like Los Angeles or New York, how can one counteract those effects?

Most people don’t seem to want to get old and die, but many also don’t seem to want to live, or more specifically, live in the moment. Oh the irony.

If one is on technology all the time and increases their rate of perceived time travel does that mean then, that it is life itself they are avoiding and/or not enjoying?

Perhaps we forget that life is worth savoring. If we are constantly being fed advertisements and shown daily that what we have isn’t enough then we really just lose sight of ourselves and our tangible journey, which is ultimately what gives us true satisfaction and meaning.

I tried an experiment. I cut out all social media for several days to see what happened. Funny how fast Facebook noticed my absence. It submerged my inbox with “all the things I was missing” and tried desperately to win me back. Kind of like how an I’ll-suited boyfriend or girlfriend would keep reaching out and talking about all of the good times we had when, in fact, the whole relationship was doomed from the start.

The difference is, once you escape from that bad romance and see the perspective from a third party standpoint there’s really no going back. Or is there? Our minds are emotional and not always rational. That’s the common denominator between social media sites, bad romances and heroin… they prey on our emotions and the primal aspects of the mind.

On this break from expedited time travel I read books, I did the things that I had procrastinated on for months and I felt more inspired and creative. I forgot how fulfilling self expression was when I wasn’t distracted all the time. My mind became clearer.

Before this break I was deluged with reliving thoughts of the past and how I could’ve done better. Either that or constantly planning for different scenarios the future may hold. At this point in my life I know I can handle things as they come, why dwell on all the different scenarios of the future when 99.9% of them will never come to fruition? What a waste.

Instead, my thoughts lied more on creating a better now and planning things that I would enjoy today. I don’t know where I’ll be in 5, 10 or 50 years but if I focus on bettering the present how can tomorrow truly be bad?

Cheers to a slow and gratifying 2018.