Is time really going faster or do we just imagine it?
Reflections about time
I recently heard that most young people can no longer tell the time when they are shown an analogue clock. I was shocked! How could they possibly be so dumb? But then I learned that the kids of today are growing up with digital watches and apparently, that is all they know. It seems that old-fashioned watches are a thing of the past, at least for the younger generation. No wonder I am getting blank stares when I'm asked what time it is and I reply: "It's quarter to 5", which of course sounds totally different from the "4:45" they know. Thank God I have grown up "multi-timely" and I can understand the time whether it's in quarters, in minutes, in 24 hour increments, in am or in pm. But I guess this quality also makes me an old fossil - somebody who doesn’t keep up with the modern times. For the older crowd, an analogue Rolex, IWC or Breitling is still the sign of ultimate sophistication. After all, what would James Bond look like with a digital plastic watch made in China?
What is time anyway?
To my knowledge, time is the only common measuring system that we share worldwide. It doesn’t matter who and where you are, a day always has 24 hours and an hour sixty minutes. Amazing that mankind could agree on something.
Although a minute always has 60 seconds, a minute can feel like a flash or an eternity. Time is relative, it always depends on the circumstances and the person involved.
- For a kid, time doesn't go fast enough
- For a manager, time is money
- For a dying person, time is running out
- For an inventor, time is of essence
- For a busy person, time is simply running away
- For a bored person, time is endless
- For lovers, time is precious
- For a prisoner, time is like an eternity
When I lay awake at night, a minute feels like an hour. However when I snuggle up in bed in the morning, an hour feels like a minute. A 15 minute coffe break passes like a flash but the last 15 minutes at work seem to last forever, especially before the weekend.
My 94 year old father was upset when he had to spend a whole hour waiting at the doctor’s office. At first I couldn't understand what that fuss was all about. After all, old people always have plenty of time. Don’t they? And then it all of a sudden hit me: To a person who is running out of time an hour is precious, not something that you want to waste waiting.
And then there are always the people who complain that time is going faster and faster. Is it, because they are getting older or busier? No wonder somebody invented the saying “life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes”.
How can we make more time
Maybe we could slow down the whole process by relaxing more and rushing less. Maybe we should just switch off all our modern gadgets that keep us busy around the clock and make some "ME" time? Maybe we should stop and smell the roses?
Time is merely a perception or a guideline. Depending on how we use it, it can either be stressful or relaxing.
Time is valuable, but although time is money, money can't buy time.
Wealthy or successful people often complain that they lack time. They rush around all day long in order to accumulate as much wealth as possible "for their retirement". They don't live the moment and they don't seem to enjoy their wealth. Their goal is retirement - or quality time! Therefore, logically speaking, it's not wealth that makes us happy, it's quality time! In this materialistic world we live in, we often tend to forget that.
It is individually up to each one of us what we make of our time. Whether we like it or not, our time is limited and sooner or later we will run out. We cannot bring back things from the past or slow-down the future. That's why we should live the moment!
So next time, before you say that you don't have time for that cup of coffee with a friend or a 10 minute phone call with your mother, think again. You might never get that opportunity again!
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What is time: A philosophical perspective
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