Do you think this year is going fast? I certainly do. The blossom is starting to open and I’m starting to get clogged up sinuses as the tree pollen does its important (for the tree, and for those of us with plum trees that want plums from them – apparently) yet in my mind partly evil work. Near us is a primary school that has a massive carpet – the only way to describe it – of gorgeous crocuses under trees near the road; not only are they are all fully out, now they are starting to go over. The Black headed gulls in the park now have their black heads back (as opposed to a head marking that looks suspiciously like a pair of headphones). I’m not going to be surprised to see ducklings soon.
But it cannot be time actually passing any faster, can it? Or maybe it can. I’m a relativity open minded kind of person (groan). Or is it the just the perception of time rushing past like one of Douglas Adams’ famous deadlines? And if it is only the perception of passing time is that enough to make it real, if everyone seems to agree the year is flying past. And it does seem for a lot of people this is the perception for some reason, after usual generic comments on the weather the next topic of general agreement seems to be ‘the year seems to be flying by, don’t it?’ with sage nods of the head and scratching of heads (maybe starting to exaggerate the image a little there).
I was trying to work out why it feels that way and for me, and if it mattered. I do think that perception of time does matter. How we perceive the world impacts how we respond to the world both consciously and unconsciously. So if we feel we are running to keep still, we run a bit faster. A mouse ‘sees’ time and life in a very different way from either ourselves or an oak tree and the biology of all is related to that perception, perhaps partly driven by that. So it makes me wonder that if we perceive that life for many of us seems to be speeding up that we will be feeling the biological impacts of that on our bodies and the way we behave.
It is not the same for everyone. We have good friends who live very different lives from ours and their pace is not the same. When we visit, briefly, things calm down. Possibly that is why it is something we like to do because even a weekend can feel like a mini holiday. I sometimes feel positively envious and then realise that one of the reasons I feel time is passing me by is that my time is full of ‘stuff’, and an awful lot of that stuff can be blamed not on work (which I would love to lay all my troubles on of course) but things that I am doing because I want to. So it is entirely my fault (albeit sharing the schedule with the Lovely Wife). But the diary (as opposed to the dairy, which seems to appear too much in my writing thanks to the vagaries of my typing and the inadequacy of spell checkers, suggesting I am partly obsessed by lactose containing products) being so full does make it feel that we should be ‘taking bookings’ for 2017! And I think this is where the perception is being warped for us in a way I suspect not dissimilar to those with children having look several years ahead to plan and manage their future. This focus on the future is not a bad thing, any more than having a life full of incident is necessarily a bad thing; but it is tiring, and it does mean that perhaps things are flying past so fast that I am not enjoying them as much as I could. Sometimes when I go into work in the early mornings the relative quiet of the hour is rewarded with birdsong or a surprised rabbit and stopping for a moment to listen can be one of the nicest and memorable moments of the day, and if I want to make the most of my time I might need to alter my perception and take in the uniqueness of what my personal version of life looks like. That, I think, would be a good thing.