There are certain things I recall hearing as a child that made absolutely no sense to me. One of them was, “Once you get older, time really seems to fly.” I recall thinking how absurd this sounded. A day is a day, a week is a week and a year is a year, no matter how old you are. Then it happened – I got old. Where some people may debate as to what age this happens, there is a certain intellectual stage you reach where I think life starts to change. Perhaps it is because I am at an age where I have lived more years than I have left to live? I am on the downhill, if you care to look at it that way. There is a quote from the movie The Crow, which is a movie I rather enjoy, in which the bad guy says “Childhood is over the moment you know you’re gonna die.” I am not sure I 100% agree with this. I believe that realizing you are going to die is one of the best motivations to start living. I do think something changes though. There is a certain sober reality that sets in.
When this happens, I think the time speeding up issue begins. In my case, my vacation, and the warm weather, is drawing to a close soon. It seems like yesterday that I was wishing for warmer weather. It also feels like the cooler weather comes quicker every year. In an odd twist of fate, it seems the colder weather lasts longer. I am going to have to figure that one out. It seems that I have been working on putting together my third book and podcast for a while and time just seems to fly by. The question becomes, “How does this happen?” and “What can we do to hold on to time?”
Most of us take the approach of this guy in the picture above. We run around trying to ‘catch time’. Oddly enough, this can have the opposite effect. I think the answer to both of our questions can be found in the picture at the beginning of this post. I believe the best way to treasure a moment and to hang on to time is to become more present. In a world where more and more information is flying at us, and we feed on distraction, it is a real battle to be present. If you do not believe me, look where any large group is gathered and count the amount of people who are staring at cell phones. It seems this percentage increases by the day. If it involves waiting of any kind, the percentage can approach 100%. Sure, it is no fun to wait, but often that might be the only time we have to ourselves and our thoughts. We may think of and notice things that we miss in our busy world.
What is crazy is how often we do this when we could be better involved in far more pleasurable activities. I see couples out to dinner where both of them are sitting across from each other on their phones. In a few years, I would imagine these couples will either wonder where all the time went, or find themselves drifting apart wondering why their connection has seemed to lesson. The same holds true for families, friends and even coworkers. It is not just cell phones. There are video games, computers and a million other distractions. None of these things are bad in and of themselves. We just need to practice them all in moderation.
We could fill this website with ways that can help you remain present. There are a few articles on here to do so. There are also books, cds and many other resources that could assist in this activity. My suggestion? Take time throughout the day to be an active observer of your environment. What this means is to notice every sound you hear. Note every smell that is in the air. Take time to really listen and appreciate those you are spending time with. When you eat, for example, slow down and notice subtle flavors, textures and scent of the food instead of trying to consume it quickly so you can move on to your next activity. I would LOVE to hear your suggestions for slowing down time and savoring the good moments.