The Feeling of Time “Flying By”
March 2020. Blink. Summer of 2021. Blink. January 2022. Sound familiar?
Time might be marked in days, weeks, months, and years, but that doesn’t mean it feels as regular as it’s supposed to be. A common feeling as we age, especially now during the pandemic, is that time is speeding up. With the loss of our “normal” due to COVID, routines have been shaken up and important life events might have been affected. One moment it feels like you have all the time in the world, but you wake up one day and realize the school year is halfway through (crazy, isn’t it? I’m still a little shaken up about it). It’s an unnerving feeling, and might even make you feel anxious, however, there seems to be something we can do about it.
The feeling of “time flying by” has been discussed in the scientific community for decades. Duke University Professor Adrian Bejan argues physics may be behind it, explaining that as our neurotransmitters become more complex (and therefore longer), our brains take longer to acquire and process the sensory information that forms memories. While this may seem like a minuscule difference in the grand scheme of things, the Mechanical Engineering professor maintains that, relative to actual time, a younger mind will receive many more images in a day than an older mind, creating more amounts of information to store as memory. This creates the illusion that time has passed by more quickly as we get older, even though it hasn’t.
But you might ask yourself, “OK, what does that have to do with me? I’m not old.” That’s where the psychology community argues that there might be something more to it. When we are very young, one year represents a larger portion of our life than now. For example, if you’re eight you only really remember three or four years of that time. The older you are, the more years you have full of memories, so one year doesn’t contain as many new experiences as it used to. In elementary school, for instance, new adventures are lived very often, much more so than when you’re in high school or college. While both these two stages of our lives also have interesting milestones and experiences, life when you’re older isn’t as “new and shiny” as it feels during elementary school.
In addition to this, life events have been extremely affected due to the pandemic and our version of “normal” has been thrown askew. Clubs, sports, social events, family gatherings, and other exciting factors in our lives have been postponed, or even canceled altogether. The things we relied on to make new memories and fill our lives with colour and fun have been taken away by a global crisis. Even now, when vaccines are available and we thought things might go back to normal, new challenges like Omicron are thrown in our path. The teenage experience has been completely redefined, and it can feel overwhelming to know that. If tedious and repetitive routines feel like they have invaded your life, maybe it’s time to make some small (yet powerful) changes.
First, I could start talking about the benefits of exercise and meditation and how they can turn your life around and make you happier and more energized. While these are very powerful practices, you probably didn’t come here to read about the two same tired old tips (do try them though, they can be extremely helpful). Instead, I’d like to talk about challenging yourself to find new ways to step out of your comfort zone and make new memories. By doing so, you let yourself submerge less into the mundane of daily routine and instead make life a little more interesting. Now, I know that what I’m saying is pretty broad advice, so here’s a list of new experiences that can lead you in the right direction — I also like keeping a bucket list on the Notes app on my phone, so I can write down things I’m excited to see one day.
- Sing Karaoke: I know it sounds cheesy, but singing karaoke with your friends is actually a lot of fun. You can find places that offer it, or maybe even set it up at home. Pick songs you like or ones that’ll make everyone laugh (*cough cough* All-Star by Smash Mouth *cough cough*), and just have fun with it!
- Host a Film Festival: if you’re more of a homebody, this might be just for you. Gather a group of friends for a day, make some snacks, and choose three or four films. Maybe even pick a theme, like animated classics or foreign films. Try not to choose movies you’ve seen a million times before but instead little-known gems that can take you on a discovery journey.
- Participate in a New Cultural Tradition: KW is full of different cultures, so it’s easy to find some kind of tradition you’d like to know more about. Ask friends from different cultures about the traditions they have and make plans to show one another them! Remember to be respectful and appreciative of our differences while enjoying the fun and knowledge you learn!
- Try Some Form of Creative Outlet: maybe you’re not much of an artist and can barely doodle a stick figure… but don’t worry! There are so many different opportunities when it comes to artistic outlets, from knitting, to finger painting, to scrapbooking, and more — no matter what your interests and abilities are, why not give the arts a shot? If you already dabble in the arts, maybe you could try a different area and discover a new hobby! For more ideas, click here.
- Write Your Manifesto: no, I do not mean recreate a certain German book (or do, whatever floats your boat). Trying to gather all our thoughts on a certain topic, as broad as life or as precise as Netflix’s terrible remakes, can let us in on several inner realizations. By writing an essay (as long or as short as you like), you can finally declare to the world, or at least whoever will agree to read it, how love isn’t real and Cardi B is totally overrated.
- Try a New Hairstyle: now, you might ask yourself, “Why go with something new if my hairstyle is already working for me?” However, changing up your look can bring a much-needed adjustment. By playing with styles, cuts, products, and even colours you can find a myriad of styles that suit you and cure your case of chronic ponytail once and for all.
- Watch the Sunrise: our social media feeds are usually flooded with pictures of the sunset, but how many times have you watched a sunrise with the same attention and veneration as you might with a summer sunset? Waking up before the crack of dawn and making the effort to plan out where you’ll be watching completely pays off once you see the torrent of light and colour that happens every morning.
- Assemble a Photo Album: do you ever feel like nothing exciting ever happens? You might just not have a clear way of remembering all the interesting things you’ve done. By creating a photo album, you’ll be able to review all those memories and have a visually appealing way of keeping them safe.
So you see, there are many ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone, both with others and alone. You can form new memories that allow you to discover more about other people, yourself, and the world around you. This way, you won’t let your high school years pass by in the blink of an eye. The more things you do to push yourself to try new things, the less you’ll feel like time is speeding up, and the less you’ll feel like you’re just not able to keep up with it. So come on Gaels, push against the constraints of a monotonous daily routine and live a life you’re excited to wake up for!
By Martina Mesa