Saturday, January 08, 2005


When a baby is first born it can hardly see past the end of it's tiny nose. But after a few days he can start to make out the face of the person holding him, and after a few weeks he can start to make out the wall on the opposite side of the room. So too is our awakening.

I am coming to this party late. Folks have been talking about this for centuries. But I am just happy to have made it to the party, even if the road was not always straight and the direction was not always clear. And I am happy to have the chance to talk to and with all of you about slowing down.

Time sickness is epidemic now. We all suffer from it, whether we know it or not. I think that the older we get the more we feel the rapidity of time, but even small children have commented to me that the days are going by fast! Do you remember being a toddler or even a little older? Do you ever remember thinking the days were going by quickly? I know that I did not. I remember thinking I would never grow up and that I would always be a kid. I remember thinking, right after the New Year, that I would never see the Christmas Tree again because that holiday was just so far off. I remember when the space between my birthdays seemed to be this enormous chasm that could never be crossed. That I would be stuck being whatever age I was forever, because a year was just such a long period of time that it was hard to get my mind around it.

Not now. We are still boxing up the last of the holiday decorations and it already seems like Christmas will be back before the boxes have time to collect any dust. I just celebrated a birthday, and know full well that before I settle in to the realization that I am as old as I am, it will be time for another. And can anyone tell me why I still want to write "1999" as the date? There are teenagers who will be graduating from high school who were only in elementary school in 1999!! The thought of writing "2005" seems foreign to me! And I suspect there are many people who are having very similar feelings.

So the question for me became "Why is time going so fast, and what can I do about that?". I first considered this almost ten years ago, but without a vocabulary or any sort of background on the phenomenon of "time sickness", I had no idea that it was anything other than perceptual. "Why is time going so much faster now?" The question seems to offer two possible answers. One is external and one is internal. One has to do with physics and one has to do with the psychology of the human mind. Either 24 hours is not the same physical amount of time that it was when, say, I was eight -- or my perception of what 24 hours is has changed.

Our Assignment
So our "homework" for next time is to give this idea some thought. Consider what got done in a single day during a time when you were seven or eight. And consider what gets done in a day now that you are whatever age you are at now. Reflect on the question of whether a 24 hour period is actually the same length of time as it was when you were seven or eight. Physical time, not perception of time. If you want to break it down even more (and we'll probably talk some about why that might not be the best idea in a future post) .. does 60 seconds total the equivalent amount of time use today as it did in, say, 1965?

Copyright©2005 J.D. Warrick