An Experiment in Slowing Down Time

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!)

pretty green laptop with planner pages open

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, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

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!

Do you feel like time is just flying by? Have you tried anything to see if you can slow it down and how did it work? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

43 thoughts on “An Experiment in Slowing Down Time

  1. Kathy Smith

    An interesting challenge and task you’ve taken on here. And one I understand but at the same time I find it interesting and I would typically agree with you yet I have found myself wanting time to pass quickly and at least be this time next year – by tomorrow!  It’s due of course to my current life experience of not wanting to feel like this anymore and by this I mean sad. I miss my husband desperately and oddly the more time that passes, 7 months now, the more it becomes clear he is not coming back. This really happened. The finality of it is paralyzing.

    Reply
    1. Dana Thompson Post author

      It is strange how our minds deal with death isn’t it? It’s very hard to wrap our brains, and more importantly our hearts, around. I can totally understand how in times of grief we may want time to pass faster so we can heal quicker. I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to lose the love of your life. Just before my dad passed away he told me he didn’t want me to be sad, to live my life to the fullest, and to remember him only with fondness and joy. It took time, but knowing that was his wish for me helped me to get over the grief. Just knowing what I know about your husband makes me believe that would be his wish for you too. My step mother-in-law has lost two husbands, one being my husband’s father almost 20 years ago. She told me we never completely stop grieving the loss of those closest to us, but it does get easier. I wish you peace in your heart and big hugs.

      Reply
    2. Dawn

      Kathy, I can’t imagine how hard it is for you having lost your husband. I know it’s not the same but I lost my daddy a few months ago and I remember wishing I could somehow fast-forward through the hard parts. Some days I still do, but it was a comfort knowing that God promised to never leave me or forsake me, even when I didn’t understand. Please know that you will be in my prayers. Hugs to you.
      Dawn recently posted…Reflecting on the JourneyMy Profile

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  2. Dawn Tolbert

    Love this post, Dana! Time really does seem to fly by but I’ve been trying to be more mindful of living each day, too. I started a morning routine that includes Bible reading, prayer and writing — at least I try to write most days. Sometimes sleep wins out, but the other parts are non-negotiable. The discipline has helped me ground each day in mindfulness of the blessings I’ve been given. I still have a tendency to just let time get away from me too easily because I’m so busy, but I’m trying to not wish days and weeks away. (And I totally relate to that being harder with vacation on the horizon!!) Thanks for being a good influence on me.
    Dawn Tolbert recently posted…Morning RoutineMy Profile

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  3. Dana Thompson Post author

    Thanks Dawn! You have been a huge inspiration to me in crafting my new morning routine and an awesome cheerleader when I felt like sleeping in is the better option! I never would have thought I could get up at 6 am and read and do yoga until you posted faithfully on your blog almost every morning last year. It was so inspiring! We will always be busy, but I think we’ve definitely been better about mindfulness lately. And if we can slow down time we’ll have more time to write! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Leo Tat

    Dana, for me every year beats the previous year for being the fastest year. As we get older, there are more responsibilities for us, and we get less time to spend for ourselves. So we get into a routine of all the tasks the require our attention. I think it is the routine which keeps our attention away from the present. Our attention is either thinking about the past or the future. I noticed that when we go on holiday, time goes much slower. This is because we break from the routine, and live mostly in the present, observing and interacting with our surroundings while on holiday.
    Leo Tat recently posted…Is Bread Good or Bad for Your Health? How and Why?My Profile

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  5. Dana Lynn Thompson

    Hi Leo!

    I have noticed that while on holiday time seems to slow down as well, but hadn’t quite thought of it in those terms. Thanks for the wonderful new perspective! I will also ponder on your thoughts about routine and how that might be affecting how time is perceived. I have always loved the idea of doing one of those challenges where you pick an activity outside of your normal routine like explore a new bookstore, take a watercolor class, or go for a hike and discover a new trail. I will be intentional about trying that out and seeing how it makes me feel. Thanks for stopping by to comment. It is much appreciated!
    Dana Lynn Thompson recently posted…Lack of Pimento Cheese Does Not a Crisis Make!My Profile

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