Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Found the Fountain of Youth

I am still reading AJ Jacob’s The Know it All (I had to take a break to get my book club reading done).

Yesterday, I came by an interesting passage in his book regarding the passage of time:

The Britiannica has an explanation for this: elderly people find time shorter because they notice long accustomed changes less frequently.”

Like me, he was boggled by this phrasing, but surmised as I did that as we get older we opt out on already known information: Sunrises come daily so we don’t tend to notice them anymore; weeks pass in and out without real notice because we are used to the pattern.

I think we also speed up time by planning it away . . . instead of focusing on today we are looking forward to an event in the future – payday, a trip, a holiday.

As time really is relative how do we give ourselves more time on earth? How do we find the Fountain of Youth that has historically sought after? Slow down, be thoughtful, notice small changes around you. As you live on this micro level, I believe you will find that time slows in your life.

Personally, I have firsthand experience with this concept. When the kids were in school and we were running, running, running life took on a warp speed that became truly frightening. Instead of seeing what was around me, I was focused on what I needed to do next to get through the day. One specific day, as I was racing to volunteer in their school, I was caught in traffic between work and the school. That day I literally felt my heart pounding through my chest. And then I stopped, I took a breath, I looked around at the cars stopped beside me on the highway. The clock slowed. My heart returned to its regular beat. I decided to change our life. The following year, we took the kids out of school and began homeschooling. This change alone made a drastic difference in our perception in time. I also made a conscious choice to begin noticing stars, leaves, clouds, the way the sun climbs in the sky and how that changes from day to day.

We don’t really need more time in our lives; we need to recognize the time that exists.

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