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The Days are Long, But the Years are Short

If you’ve ever had a baby, you’ve heard the saying “The days are long, but the years are short”.   I was skeptical at first, I thought some days would never end. I even found myself wishing for bath time so we could wind down for the night, exhausted. Then- it seems my toddlers became teenagers overnight.  I became the crazy lady who repeated the saying to every single new mom I encountered, tears in my eyes… “Trust me” I would tell them.

Let’s break it down if we can.  Have you ever noticed that as you get older, time goes by faster? It's a common sentiment shared by many, and it's not just a figment of our imagination. The older we get, the faster time appears to pass, and there are several reasons behind this phenomenon.

One factor is our perception of time in relation to our experiences. When we're young, each day is filled with new discoveries, challenges, and milestones.  Can you remember summer days that seemed to last a lifetime…. You’d be outside for what seemed like days, just playing, exploring, collecting things.  I had the biggest suitcase of rocks that I dragged up and down our long driveway, adding- taking away- adding again.  I made endless chains of dandelion stems.  I had leave collections and bug collections.  My mom would pay me to kill the flies on our house- 2 cents for small ones and 3 cents for big ones- she was the judge.

As we age, our routines become more established, and we're less likely to encounter novel experiences on a regular basis. As a result, our brains process familiar events more quickly, making time seem to pass faster.

Then there is technology.  It plays a huge role in shaping our perception of time. With the advent of smartphones, high-speed internet, and on-demand services, we've become accustomed to instant gratification. We no longer have to wait for things like information, communication, or entertainment—they're available to us at the touch of a button.

I remember telling my kids that “when we were little, The Wizard Of Oz only came on once a year- one Saturday evening close to Easter.  If you weren’t home to watch it, you’d have to wait until NEXT YEAR”!

Cartoons were on Saturday mornings, and after school specials were a treat.  We had no DVRs, not even VCRs at that point.  There was no way to save it until later or even pause or rewind if we missed a part while running to the  bathroom (I would say running  to the kitchen- but we all know we didn’t eat snacks- it would ruin our dinner).   While modern conveniences enhance efficiency and productivity, it also contributes to the feeling that time is slipping away rapidly.

Another aspect to consider is the cumulative effect of time. As we age, each passing year represents a smaller proportion of our overall lifespan. For example, a year may feel much shorter to a 50-year-old than it did to a 10-year-old because it's only 2% of their life versus 10%. With each passing year, the percentage shrinks, making time appear to accelerate.

So, what can we do to slow down the perceived passage of time? While we can't stop the clock, we can cultivate mindfulness and presence in our daily lives. By savoring moments, embracing NEW experiences, and practicing gratitude, we can counteract the feeling of time slipping away.

The phenomenon of time seeming to speed up as we age is complex.  A mix of perception, technology, and the actual passage of time itself. While we may not be able to stop the clock, but we can make the most of the time we have by living in the moment and cherishing each and every experience.

How will you slow time today?

Try something new.  Be mindful.  Practice gratitude while meditating or taking a walk.  Get out of the monotony of your day to day schedule.  Live intentionally.

With love from my core,

Amity ❤️

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