Thanksgiving is now behind us and as I write this Insight, there are only 27 more days until Christmas and 34 more days until we welcome 2018. Where has the time gone? This past year has flown, and I am left spinning from the Tasmanian Devil-like speed of 2017.
“Why does time go so fast?” I ask the question, so many ponder this time of year.
According to a guest blog written for Scientific American online magazine, author Gordan James Lewis presented many scientific studies as it relates to our perception of time and why it seems to go so quickly. The studies indicated that although aging plays a role in the perception of time, it is the notion of “time pressure” – trying to get our “to do” list completed and thus, missing out on the present moment, that contributes to the speed that times appears to travel.
Lewis gives the following example: “When you’re a kid on December 1, you’re faithfully counting down the days until Santa brings your favorite Hot Wheels down the chimney. When you’re an adult on December 1, you’re a little more focused on work, bills, family life, scheduling, deadlines, travel plans, Christmas shopping, and all of that other boring adult stuff. The more attention one focuses on tasks such as these, the less one will notice the passage of time.”
The stress of adult life, Lewis continues, may be interpreted as the feeling that time is passing too quickly. This is something not only experienced here in America. The studies also indicated that time pressure is a cross-cultural experience as the results were similar among the German, Austrian, Dutch, Japanese, and New Zealander participants.
So, what can be done to slow down time, or the perception of such?
One suggestion I came across was to take advantage of new and unique experiences. Stepping outside of the same, everyday stressors that blind us to the passage of time, can switch us more into the present moment. Although it may not shift the perception of time in a vast way, it will help us to use time more wisely. (Check out the Calendar of Events and go to the Chamber Tree Lighting, the Live Nativity Scene at Windham Christian Academy or the Christmas in the Barn event for something different to do.)
But what may be more important is spending time with those you love. Lewis suggests, “While the feeling may be inescapable, appease yourself by knowing that time is not literally getting faster as you age. Take a moment to slow down this Christmas, enjoy time with your family and friends, and be assured that the fancy Rolex that Santa brings you . . . is doing its job just fine.”