We might be able to slow down time, but it won’t be easy.
We’re halfway through July, in 2017. How has this year gone by so fast?!
It’s a question I seem to be asking myself more and more as I get older. Time seems to be going by faster and faster every single day. And I hate that. I wanted to slow it down, but how?
I. Life is Memories
Our lives are comprised of memories. We fly through time, always living in the present, recording the past in our memories. Our lives as we know them, are nothing but collections of memories.
What does this have to do with time going by faster and faster?
As we age, the amount of memories we’ve collected increases, and the percentage of “life” that a single day contains compared to your total life’s memories becomes smaller and smaller and smaller…
The more we age, the smaller the current day, week, month, and year are relative to length of our life. This makes us feel like time goes by much faster than it does.
In addition to our lives lengths’ making each year less impactful than the previous, we have a brain that needs to run efficiently in order to store all that information as the years go by. So what does the brain do?
II. How the Brain Remembers Life
As you age, your brain will record lifelong memories and impactful events, but what about those average days at work? What about the days that look exactly the same as the next? Your brain simply discards them from memory.
The brain vivdly stores new experiences, and compresses reccurring events.
Nothing new to learn today? No new experience? No need to save that day in your memory! Essentially, that day will be compressed along with a handful of other days that your brain decides were very similar to it.
We’re halfway through July. Are you shocked? Did it feel like this month just flew by? You most likely had very few new experiences this month. Thus, your brain decided to compress those days from the past couple of weeks since they were very similar.
As you age, the number of new lifelong memories that you form in a given day will decrease. You don’t learn a new word every day like you did as a kid. You can only “eat chocolate for the first time” once. You can only “go to a new school” so many times.
You can see how the direct inverse of this graph is the infamous “time fly by” experience that people have in the days and weeks following a momentous event in their lives:
That first week of college lasted forever. You were learning so much! New friends, new teachers, new town. Your brain stored so much of the events of that week.
But what about the rest of that year? As the days became more familiar, your brain had less of a need to store the details of those days, weeks, and months following your first experiences with the college. Soon enough, the year was flying by.
And this feeling scales. Junior year felt like a blimp in your memory compared to freshmen year. Sixth grade felt like a decade compared to the rest of grade school!
III. New Experiences Are Key
This is my new mission. Every day, I will try and experience at least one thing I have never experienced before.
Every day, I will try and experience at least one thing I have never experienced before.
Never liked onions? Time to try them on my sandwich today!
Never dyed my hair before? Time to do it badly by myself, and then run to the hair salon to desperately get it fixed.
Never danced merengue? Time to take a class.
There are many more scientific reasons as to why time goes by faster as we age, biological and physical factors which we currently don’t have a way of preventing. Given that, I’m determined to act on the little things we can do each day to lengthen our memories just a bit more.
I’m now 20 years old. In striving to learn as much as I can about the world, I’m setting out on this mission of trying new things.
Not because I’m trying to be some daredevil, but because I want to remember a longer life. I don’t want my weeks and months compressed any longer. Also, cuz I’m bored.
Wish me luck! 😊