Day in and day out, we work the daily grind. “What’s been goin’ on?” an old friend might ask. To which you may respond, “same ol’ same ol'”.
There are theories that suggest that this makes time pass very quickly. When you did the same thing today that you did a week ago, last week feels like yesterday. Similarly, when you did something very similar to what you’re doing now a year or two ago, it feels like last week or last month. When the trend doesn’t break, the passage of time seems like the blink of an eye.
You don’t have to look far for suggestions on what to do to change this perception. You have the power to make time feel as if it is passing by more slowly.
Do you drive the same way to work most days? Do you jog the same routes? When you go out to eat, is it to your usual 2-4 places?
There are places within your life in which it is easy to make micro-changes that will not be that big a deal. These little blips of inconsistency may feel insignificant at first, but give it time. Placing those little hiccups and inconsistencies on your timeline will make it look more like a random walk instead of a seasonal trend (think stock price versus temperature in a particular city: one moves randomly while the other moves quite predictably throughout the year). Once you’ve built this up over a month or two, you will begin to notice something amazing. Last week feels like last week and not yesterday. Last month feels like last month… or was it two months ago?
Do you vacation in the same place from year to year? Visit the same people?
Once you get the hang of micro-changes you can start thinking bigger. Why not go somewhere else for your birthday/anniversary this year? When exploring new territory, I suggest to plan the bare bones of the trip. That is, just take care of how you’ll get there, where you’ll stay, and maybe an event or two that attracted you to the destination in the first place. Don’t stress out about anything more.
Over the last nine years, my wife and I have made it a point to travel somewhere different and experience something new for our anniversary every year. It turns out, that we have ended up in a different state every time. Our trips usually have common themes to them. We like to seek out breweries and we like to go on long hikes together. We will continue this tradition for as long as we are able.
When I think about our honeymoon in the wine country of California, it feels like a very long time ago (9 and a half years ago). This also is the case for our first anniversary to Portland, Oregon and our hiking around Multnomah Falls. We have traveled and experienced so much since then that it does really feel like eight and a half years.
The Great Outdoors
In my limited amount of research on slowing down our perception of time, getting outside was common to a few articles. I tend to agree as it falls into the realm of seeking novelty. Whether it is hiking the Flatirons in Colorado, or urban hiking the entire Freedom Trail in Boston, we are no strangers to getting outside.
Another common theme was to reflect on times past. On the daily level, this can be done in a journal. By taking time to reflect on your day last thing before bed or first thing in the morning also works in slowing your perception of time. You may find yourself not writing much down to begin with which will induce a desire to do something worthy of writing down.
Two of my favorite things to do with friends is to create new, enriching experiences and talk about the many ones we’ve already had.
Whether you’re with others or by yourself, try to add something extraordinary to your life and slow things down a bit.