Here it is March 1st and I bet some of you are already saying, “Where is this year going?!” I have to admit that 2016 was probably the fastest year I have ever experienced. I felt like I had just made a wish on my birthday cake at the beginning of January and then I simply turned around and decorated the Christmas tree, my wish still hanging in the air with the blown out candle smoke. I found myself asking, “What just happened?!?! Is the year over already? And what did I accomplish?” Honestly, I could hardly remember much about the year even though after some brainstorming with Dawn I realized I did have some great moments worth noting.
The older you get, the faster time goes. But is this REALLY true??
My dad always told me that the older you get, the faster time goes and so far I have seen this to be true. Waiting for Christmas as a kid seemed like an eternity, didn’t it? As an adult it seems to come around once a month! But think about the life changes you experience as an adult. When you get older you have many more demands on your time – work, family, bills to pay, a house to clean, hobbies, relationships, and commitments galore – to fit into a finite number of hours each day. We also become aware of how short our time is on this earth and it feels imperative that we fill it with as much living as we can. It’s no wonder time feels like it is flying by!
Now think of those moments when time seems to crawl. Waiting in the doctor’s office in that awful paper robe for your annual checkup. On a boring day at work. Standing in line at the bank. Rain delays at the tennis court. Does time really go faster or slower depending on the activity you’re engaged in? I’m no Stephen Hawking, but I’d say no. A minute is still the same 60 seconds at the doctor’s office as it is while basking in the sun at the beach on vacation.
I believe it is our perception of time that changes the reality of how long a minute takes depending on what we are doing at that moment.
So, I decided to try a little experiment in mindfulness this year and slow down my perception of time. I am making a conscious effort to quit saying things like, “Man, this year is flying.” Or “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it’s XYZ month already!!” I’m trying to be more present in the moment, enjoy the little things, and not wish away the week to get to the weekend. (Failing miserably at that this week since I’m on vacation next week and have two fun weekend trips planned!)
I’m also using the beautiful pink 2017 day planner that Dawn got me for Christmas to record the small moments of each day and to highlight my bigger accomplishments. I’m keeping notes on what books I read this year so I can look back and see the list in December. In this way I’m being mindful of the small joys in my life on a daily basis and taking time to cherish each day.
The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh,
I have to say that so far this approach seems to be working and this year is not going by as quickly. At least, I don’t perceive that it is. I’m looking forward to continuing this experiment throughout the year to see if I can slow things down even more. Life is too short to waste a single moment!