The Secret to Slowing Down Time

Here in the sunny State of Colorado, the back-to-school blitz is on. The Target store aisles are filled with list-wielding shoppers snapping up school supplies. The days are getting shorter and summer is almost over. For many, the season has flown by. Soon the snowflakes will be flying too.

Why does time seem to accelerate as we get older?

When we were young, so much of what we experienced was new. Our little brains worked overtime to process fresh information. No wonder we slept so well!

As we age, less surprises us. We go through the motions of daily life. Our brain doesn’t have to work very hard since it has already processed our surroundings. As we drag our feet through mundane activities during the week, our memories of similar days blend together and time speeds up.

Routine = Blended memories = Time acceleration.

Ordinary events like coming home from work, making a frozen pizza and watching a baseball game on TV blend together. But if you raced home from work and drove to a baseball game with friends or family, you would remember that occasion. As you begin to add various activities to your schedule, time slows down.

Diverse activities = Distinctive memories = Time deceleration.

The weird thing is time flies when you are having fun! Over a short period time, it seems to accelerate when we aren’t aware of the passing minutes or hours. The opposite is true if we are on a cold examining table while watching the clock and waiting for the doctor to arrive, especially if we are naked under a paper sheet.

“Hey! I’m enjoying my own dog days.”

So here’s the trick. If you want to slow down the perception of time, make some plans! Shake things up. Break out of your routine every day and surround yourself with different environments. Don’t look at the clock and the day will race by, but when you look back at the weeks or months at all those distinctive memories, it will seem as if time slowed.

Me? Oh no. I don’t want to slow down time. I live in the land of 300 sunny days. This summer has been endless. I plan to sit here and type until the snow flies. I can’t wait for ski season!

It won’t be long!

Is time accelerating as you get older?

A post you might like  – 10 Things You Can Do Before it’s too Late!

Related articles:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/health/05mind.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3532195.stm

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98 Comments

Filed under Humor, Inspiration, Life

98 responses to “The Secret to Slowing Down Time

  1. Pingback: Don’t Touch Your Clocks…Yet! | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  2. Pingback: It’s Official! A Photo Essay | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  3. Sorry I’m late! I was busy trying to hold onto the last moments of summer.

    Today, TechSupport had to bring in all his gear to school and load up his locker. And now he has a 5 hour training to be a WEB Leader. (WEB stands for “Where Everyone Belongs.”) He will be helping out the incoming 6th graders. He is really excited to do this. One day he will be a great camp counselor.

    Whoops. I just slipped back into summer again.

    So we have a few more days.

    Our grocery store has the Halloween candy out already.

    I hate that. Too much rush-rush hurry-up.

    This summer flew for us. Flew.

  4. Pingback: Solved: the case of the angry bird – Natalie Hartford

  5. I thought I was the one to discover this principle. If you drive to work the same way every day the time passes so quickly and you find you can do it without consciously thinking. If you shake things up and drive a new way, you find you’re paying attention for the entire drive. The same principle applies to other parts of our lives when we make alterations and try new things.

  6. Hiking an uncrowded mountain trail slows down time for me…and once back to the parking lot, you wonder why life has to speed back up so quickly.

  7. I’d never thought about it this way before, but I think you’re right. It makes sense to me that when life is new and fresh it seems to move slower. I also find time moves slower when I’m anticipating something. Time always seems to drag right before my birthday for example. (Yup, I’m one of those people who still loves birthdays. What’s not to love?)

  8. Time has blurred into a fast moving blob for me now that the “babies” are no longer in full time education – I feel as though I have lost those speed bumps and markers that tagged a year. Lovely post and thank you for the company!

    • This summer was the first time my kids both lived in their own apartments. When they stopped by the house, it became more of a memory and an event. That’s what made it slow down for me! It is a huge transition after all the years, but I am settling into it. Besides, I am easily distracted and can’t write when others are around!
      Thanks Sandy!

  9. I stopped wearing a watch a few years ago, since I was checking it constantly. It made me think back to one of the reasons the days seemed so long when I was younger- because I had no blessed idea what time it was, and I didn’t much care.

  10. Great post, Susie! My ride continues to accelerate with ever-changing backdrops … from being a child to having children and then grandchildren … it’s all a wonderful memory-filled adventure . When I stop to acknowledge I’m in the home stretch to seventy (but still think I’m no more than forty!), somehow I hope it doesn’t slow down. Of course I also think it’s going to go on forever … hmmm, might have to adjust that at some point but in the meantime … ONWARD!

    • I LOVE it Patricia! You you look younger than me! I think age is irrelevant and who knows. We could all live into our 100’s! With your positive attitude, I bet you will!
      Thanks Patricia!

  11. I still stick to my theory that they simply aren’t making time the way they used to. Inferior workmanship, that’s what it is! :)

  12. Hi Susie!
    I can relate to your post quite a bit! I wouldn’t say that time accelerates with getting older for me but it does accelerate the less quality time I allow myself. For example, when I place myself in front of the TV, after a busy day, and zapp through a programme that I am not even very interested in, the day will be over in what feels like seconds. When I sit down on the porch, having a nice conversation with my partner, instead watching TV, or when I am doing something creative, time might flies by while I’m having fun, but it still feels more like hours than seconds that flew by, because it feels fulfulling.
    I believe it comes down to how present I am in the moment. The more present I am in the now, the more time I have. It is always now. It helps being aware of that. ;)

    I am wishing you sun in your heart and a wonderful rainy day on the outside to bless and nourish you and the ones you love!

  13. Thanks for the timely reminder, Susie! This week has just chewed me up and spat me out. I’ll have to come back to this one…. :)

  14. I love how I was having a crappy couple of days and you bust out with some awesome Tony Robbins like advice. Thanks for posting that second formula. Thank God I was good at Algebra. Good post :)

  15. Great article! I actually think about this a lot…it was a big consideration when I decided to become a teacher. I love that feeling of youthful excitement when the night just carried on forever with games of tag and riding bikes. It’s strange being an adult when everything flies by so fast, yet there is a loss of sensation for the events unfolding.

    Cheers to you!
    Courtney Hosny

    • Thanks Courtney!
      I think you hit it on the head. As we have more similar experiences they don’t stand out. We also aren’t as likely to try something new. Skydiving anyone????

  16. What a great way to put it. The pizza/baseball analogy really stuck with me. I try to remember to savor each day, but sometimes I just get too caught up in what needs to be done and I forget to do what I want to do. I don’t think I realized Colorado gets that much sun. Makes sense, though. Enjoy the rest of your summer! Fall is just around the corner, then it’s snow, snow, snow for you!

    • I can’t wait!
      There is a lot written about the subject. I find it so interesting that as we enter the last “trimester” of the year, we all panic! Maybe accomplishing goals has something to do with it too…. hmmm….I am definitely going to make an effort to create more memories! That can never be a bad thing no matter how time is perceived! :)
      Thanks Tameri!

  17. I feel as if I am on one of those moving sidewalks at time going through a time warp – ha! Great Post and that is why you just have to live in the moment and enjoy it:)

  18. We’re currently stationed in the land of “liquid sunshine” 9 months of rain 3 months of construction (meaning enough sunshine to actually fix the roads finally). I’m hanging on to that hour hand to keep it from moving, as tight as I can grip it until the cold, wet rain finally defeats me back into the house. But you make an excellent point about making those memories – so true!

    • Where are you? Seattle? Send some rain to Colorado!
      I have willed time to slow down by staring at a clock too. After doing the research, I am definitely going to make more plans!
      Thanks so much for reading!

  19. I love your tip on shaking up the routine. Even little things, like trying a new workout class or re-decorating my table (aka office ;)) seem to liven my spirits.

    Love the photos! Thanks for the inspiring post.

  20. Thanks, Susie, for a thought-provoking post. It is really odd how we perceive time, sometimes moving so slowly and other times going by so fast. I’m struggling right now, as my writing career is picking up speed, with finding a sense of balance in my life again. I used to be retired. What happened to that? It does seem that the seasons go by so much faster than they did when I was younger. Wasn’t it just May? Life is indeed a wild ride.

    • Hahaha! Wild it is!
      Congrats on yours! Every one of us writers would LOVE to have your problem. Balance is key. We all need a break from the computer once in a while.
      Thanks so much for stopping by to read!

  21. Could time be speeding up because there are more things we want to do in less time, all due to the fact we now actually have responsibilities? Just a thought. Not all aspects of growing up are “hideous!” If anyone wants to slow down time I’ll let them borrow my kids. Once they get into it (every few minutes) time slows down to a snails pace. LOL.

    • I remember those days. I was a den mother and would watch the clock. If a parent was 2 minutes late, I was already freaking out! Hahaha!
      From what I read, the perception of time in the span of weeks or months is really about the memories that stand out. When my kids were at home, even though we ran from event to event, they all blurred. Now because life has settled down for me, getting out of the house and doing something special becomes a more distinctive memory.
      Send them over! :)

  22. My days are a mix, some hectic, some where I can get lots and lots of editing done, and the latter is so important. I’ll divert our winter snow your way!

    • Bring on the snow!
      It’s weird how some days I just get on a roll and others I plod through. For me it has to do with energy level and what my goals are for the day. With the book I am rewriting, I had to let it percolate for a while. I didn’t realize that was normal and I felt bad that I wasn’t plowing through it. Now I know that if I had, it would have been only half the story I am writing now. I am learning that the writing process is different for everyone!
      Thanks Nelle!

  23. Well if anyone has a diverse, active, fun-filled life, you do, Susie! I definitely notice time speeding up… but sometimes I also will it to (when I’m waiting for a future event), which I try not to do because I realize more and more with each passing day how short life is!

    • I try to pack it in!
      I remember those days of “I can hardly wait!” I think I am more present centered than ever and that helps me to make the most of time.
      I sure had my boring hours of the day before I started writing!
      Thanks Jules!

  24. What is there about the end of summer that sets us thinking about the passing of time? I love your point of view! It reminds me of the Henry Van Dyke quote: “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”

    P.S. Is that your dog enjoying his/her dog days? Cute, cute dog!!

  25. Well right now time is standing still. All I want to do is go home. Long day at work and there’ll be another one tomorrow.

    I guess I need to plan something besides what’s for dinner. So I’ll sit here and day dream for a little while. Maybe that’ll speed things up.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  26. Hi Susie! Time sure does fly past as we get older. I remember our school summer holidays seeming like they went on FOREVER. It was only 8 weeks!! I definitely need to do something to shake myself out of routine in the next week or so – before the kids go back to schoool. And make it a summer to remember.

    • Great idea! There is so much to see in your part of the world. Take them to a haunted castle or on one of your famous hikes! I can’t wait to read about your adventures!

  27. Susie, if you were in Texas, summer would never be over. It starts in March and lasts until November – or so it seems. I’d invite myself to join you when you make that first ski trip, but you’d laugh at my skiing.

  28. Coleen Patrick

    So, so true. It’s getting to the point, that I’m looking back at entire years that seem to have no significance. It used to be each year would be something–my wedding, when we bought our house, my kids births, etc. But somewhere along the line I think, What was 2009? Did anything happen at all? I’m working on changing that :)

    • That is what I am going through. The kids are so good at keeping the vacations straight. There are many that have blended. Not this year! I am making a concerted effort to get out and get things accomplished! Thanks Coleen!

  29. You always manage to give me great things to think about, Susie. I always thought there was never enough time in the day when I worked 80 hours a week–but, now that I’ve retired–there’s definitely not as much time to do the things I want to accomplish. Places where I might make a difference. You’ve ignited the fire. What a difference between ‘doing’ and ‘accomplishing’.

    • Wow! Thanks Sheri! I am glad to be the fire-starter!
      I had always wondered about the passage of time and there are some great articles out there! I feel the same way about my goals. I will be racing to the end of the finish line! Whoooooooooosh!

  30. My problem is that the stroke, with all its nice side-effects, also has had the effect of me losing the passage of time. I remember doing things, but there have been times when I go back to finish something and it has been two weeks and I thought it was two or three days. My doctor says that since it began at the time of my stroke it is not normal old age stuff, but stroke stuff. I agree.
    Thanks for the help though. I will try to use it to help me, too.
    Scott

  31. Make some new plans; good advice and something I really need to do.

    • I fall into the habit of letting life make plans for me too sometimes, so I am taking the reins and am going to make a lot of plans for the fall too! I don’t want to feel like suddenly Christmas arrived. Sheesh. That is a scary thought.
      Thanks Emma!

  32. Julie Catherine

    When I had to retire from the workforce in 2010 because of disability, I thought the time would drag on forever, and I didn’t want that to happen. The first year was a year of physical and emotional adjustments and dealing with government agencies, doctor and hospital appointments and so much red tape! But guess what? I’ve had absolutely no problem filling my days this year (the good days, when I’m well enough to feel productive) – with my debut poetry book coming out very shortly, working on my digital art, writing … oh, and now trying to pack to move in October … my plate is so full, and I don’t think I’ve been bored at all – I feel so blessed. Great post, Susie! Have a wonderful day! ~ Julie :) xox

    • That is fantastic!
      I often feel like I have been surrounded by friends all day because of this awesome blogging community and the conversations we have even though I have been home alone!
      Congrats on all you accomplished!

  33. I write on a daily basis so time seems to fly by way faster. the summer has flown by here and soon it will be time to go home.
    Time just keeps marching on.
    HUGGGGGGGGGGGG

  34. True! Time flies when you’re having fun. That’s why time goes by so slowly when I’m at work (sigh). Maybe I need more vacation time. :-) Also, I love the Equinox, can’t wait for it to get here.

  35. Thoughtful and interesting reflections on time. It is very true that the days drag at The Grind and fly by when on vacation touring a Napa Valley winery. Lately I’ve been feeling so stiff I’ve been walking like I’m doing Tai Chi so that helps my personal de-acceleration process, but it probably pisses off whoever is walking behind me.

    • Especially in NYC! You should be careful not to get trampled. I am recovering from a tennis injury so I have had a lot more time in front of my computer. Can’t wait to be able to run again!
      Thanks so much V!

  36. That’s a great point Susie about doing different things to make life not only seem slower but also a lot more interesitng and enriching. Well said!

  37. So true. I remember in the newborn days, time seemed to come to a stop due to the endless sleepless nights and colic. But now that my kids are older, time is speeding up and goes by at lightning speed. I still can’t believe my son will be 10 next month when it feels like just yesterday he was a chubby sweet toddler.

    • That is so true! Now you know how to slow it down again. I think when we are racing through events, we don’t always take a moment to look back and think about what happened. Mine are 20 and 22!

  38. I’ve been meditating (and writing about) this very same idea, Susie. A friend told me about the idea of “memory hooks,” those experiences we have which create vivid memories. Of course our lives become richer when we are mindful about the pleasure of new experience, but apparently people who have collected more of these memory hooks have the sense of living longer lives… Love your blog!

    • Thank you so much! I did read something about “memory hooks” and I am going to try to “imbed them” too! Being present centered when enjoying the moment probably has something to do with it too!

  39. Love this post, especially my girl Roxy who really knows how to enjoy life in the sunbeam. I already saw Halloween decorations in a store, which left me chanting…”it’s ok it’s still August.” It’s time to make some plans!

  40. Yes it do seem to be accelerating! Whilst my body and brain be decelerating. It just ain’t fair Susie!!

  41. Lovely post, Susie. I hope I recall this when I have more time in September (Hannah goes to school full time). Making a fun plan with some new adventures no matter how small is definitely on the agenda. My first plan is to jog to the library instead of going in the car. Reading, writing and reading blogs there then jogging home. Not all that exciting but a step in the right direction.

  42. Susie, thanks – school starts in less than a week and it feels as if summer went in a blink of an eye, but there are ,many memories buried in my summer vacation – summer camp, gardening, watching my kids in sports and at play, visiting with in-laws, and catching up on reading and resting, and of course cooking and enjoying food with family and friends – it always tastes better when it is shared. I am looking forward to fall and football and school, then winter and snow, there is always something on the horizon.. thanks for helping me to slow it down! Clay

    • Hey Clay! I know what you mean and am glad that you had a fun-filled summer. I think it must be different from a teacher’s perspective in that you go back to work too!
      Love your comment about how much better food tastes when it is shared. Nice!
      Thanks for reading!

  43. Hello Susie! Well, good post and time flies for me but I am filling it with things I’ve never done. So it is all good! I am finishing a big project, I think about three weeks. I also got a job, starts in a couple weeks and with 3 kids, it’s a daily change and challenge. Oh yeah, did I mention hubby, he has an interview next week, fingers crossed. Blogging, just started last January or Feb. maybe I have too many new things.ha! I love new things and when you are in the middle of them you know it will be over and then when it is, that’s the sad part. Good day to you ;)!

  44. oh yes time sure does fly at a fast pace..but i love it,it means i have been busy doing something,it kills me when i have to look at the watch out of boredom…
    waiting sometimes is such a pain..
    loved the write up Susie :)

    • Thanks Soma!
      It will fly from now until Christmas. At least now I can make an effort to remember more events and slow it down a bit….I agree. Boredom is sooo….well….. boring! Hahaha!

  45. It’s not the acceleration of time that bothers me. It’s the waste of it.

  46. Yes! Time does seem to accelerate as we get older – very disconcerting. I thought it was January and now it’s August – how did that happen? Loved this post Susie! Jxx

    • Thanks JM! I am usually freaking out at the end of a season. I think because my kids are living in apartments this summer, their comings and goings became “events.” Anyway I look back on this summer and it seems really long for the first time in years!

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