The Hours Slip Way, The Days Drag On, But The Weeks Fly By

Without some way of marking the passage of time it has been so easy to wake up one day, forget what day it is, slump back into the couch and exist for another set of waking hours.

It's a well known phenomenon that the older we get the quicker time seems to travel. It doesn't of course, unless you are observing someone travelling at a much quicker rate than yourself, in that case time truly does go at different rates. We're all going at the same speed, so why do we feel like our time is all fucked up at the moment?

Even those with a work routine are saying how it's all different from pre-COVID-19. The work is not the solution then, even having a routine is not resolving our time fucked-upness. So what to do?
Experiences, when we're young are all new, the world offers up an ever flowing series of new and exciting events. All the biggies to start with, individualisation (realising we are not the centre of a one-person universe), walking, talking, and connecting. We learn how to socialise, how to dress ourselves, how to cook, how to love, how to engage with abstract concepts. All massive brain changing events that fill our days with big memories. Terrible episodes such as abuse, abandonment, or death all play their part in marking the passing of time. These 'red letter' days create the pathways of our brains.

Another way to look at these times is we are constantly 'in the zone',
In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one's sense of time.

Our lives are full of markers, we can look back and see or feel them, and they slow the passage of time ... or rather our perception of time. A week of many markers is a full one, takes time to remember, and we perceive that time was slow just to fit it all in.
As we get older these moments start to spread out, the days between these momentous occurrences stretch, and our perception of time speeds up as we drop the "non-days" from our conscious memory. Monday to Friday becomes squished together into a small number of memorable events.
The more detailed the memory, the longer the moment seems to last. "This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older," Eagleman said - why childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we’re dozing. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.
(source: New Yorker - The Possibilian, What a brush with death taught David Eagleman about the mysteries of time and the brain.

Routine can also remove the remarkable times, doing the same / similar things over and over again gives us a shorthand to what we did but removes the colour, the texture of each actual day. We again squish them into "last week".

Being in lockdown repeating the same things over and over without moments of heightened experiences obviously exasperates this. And yet here we are, day something of week something of lockdown.

I mark the days by updating a spreadsheet of the MoH COVID-19 data releases. It's not just a data routine however, I look for the differences between today and yesterday, was something said that makes this 1pm media session different to all the others? Is there something about the graphs that allows me to have reckons that mark today? I do all this not to be a data nerd, not merely to keep a record of the virus, I do this for myself to try and make the days different, to slow them down.

There are as many ways to make a day special, unusual, standout-y, as there imaginations in the world.

My friends organise catch-ups via video, others watch movies or TV that they have always wanted to see (be careful of too much screen, it can become "I watched stuff" and get time squished). On social media you will see things to do (#NZTopTakeaway#FormalFriday#PhotosOfMyLife#HomeTasking, #LockdownBombs anyone), challenges to do, or things to learn. All of these help to mark today as different to all the others days.

Some keep a diary / journal, a well known way of ensuring the days are marked, remembered, and made special.
I don’t write full sentences — just a bullet point for interesting or important things that happened each day. I only have to write 2–3, though sometimes I write 5–6 if I did a lot. I mix personal and work stuff together. By keeping each day’s entry short and simple, I make it so easy to journal that there are no excuses — it only takes a few minutes!
(via: Niaw de Leon - I’ve Discovered How to Slow Down Time)

Whatever routine you have, make sure you pop in new-ness, surprises (even planned ones), differences that your brain and soul will mark as red letter days.

Good luck making your day special, remember you do it for yourself and to slow down time, and if that's not a superpower I don't know what is!


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