Lately, I’ve been spending time studying the passage of time. (weird huh?) Apparently, adults experience the passage of time 2.5 times faster than a child. The reason is memory-based. Because children are constantly exposed to new and interesting things they’ve never seen before, their senses experience these things and form impressions upon their brain. The more impressions they form, the more memories they create, the slower time seems to move.
As adults, we generally experience the mundane moments over and over, seeing and living the same experiences with such frequency, that we fail to create impressions or memories with the same rapidity of a child. Consequently, time seems to move faster because we have less to anchor it with.
It reminds me of a recent conversation I had with my friend Doc Halliday. 🙂
CC: “You ever wonder why we forget so much of our lives?”
CC: “Meaning most people go through the experience of life for about sixteen hours per day and forget about ninety-nine percent of the things that happen to them. We all have this selective memory for the very few meaningful experiences.”
Halliday: “And how does that affect you in your life.”
CC: “It sort of makes me question the whole pursuit of happiness concept. Seems pretty obvious that pursuing happiness in memory is probably a pretty different quest than pursuing it in the present?
Halliday: “I’m not certain “obvious” is the right word. Why do you consider it different?”
CC: “It seems like memorializing happiness requires grand events, memorable circumstances which resonate eternally, or at the very least, for one’s entire life. That’s a pretty task-heavy mission and fucking daunting as all hell.”
CC: “On the other hand, pursuing the “experience” of happiness keeps one present, delighting in insignificance, and sacrificing the memory of happiness as life’s river flows forward. It seems like one is either a happy person, generally, or one has had meaningful happy events during one’s life. This either/or proposition frankly sucks.”
Halliday: “It doesn’t have to be that way. You could have a happy outlook in the present and remember some of the grander moments too.”
CC: “Imagine this Halliday. You wake up and have simultaneous orgasms with your wife, chow down a great breakfast, ride every ride at Disneyland twice, have an amazing Lobster dinner while watching the sunset and then just as you leave the park, some idiot pulls out a knife and steals your wife’s purse. What do you think you’ll remember from that day? You think you’ll look back upon that date with happiness? Because pursuing happiness by experience only works if you can control your circumstance, if you live in a fishbowl. Otherwise, life just gets in the way.”
I guess the only cure is to constantly experience new things, or to view commonplace things differently, in a way that challenges our perception of something. Either that, or just accept the ascending pace of life.