The Speed of Time

 

Why does it seem to go fast or slow?

Click for AUDIO version.

When you discuss concepts like the speed of time, people like Einstein and Newton come to mind who would have you consider such factors as space, light, gravity, and other elements from physics and mathematics. This my be so, but in human terms, time is measured by experiences and memories. And, Yes, time does indeed speed up and slow down. I believe we can all agree on this.

As a child I can remember summers that seemed to last for years. We spent our time capturing fire flies, camping and fishing, shooting BB guns, playing baseball, riding bicycles, playing miniature golf, collecting pop bottles so we can earn money to buy candy, sneaking some fruit from nearby orchards, building forts, swimming in a nearby stream, and playing games of tag, hide and seek, and red light/green light. Aside from the occasional rain, we spent most of our time outdoors until our parents called us in for dinner or to put us to bed.

In school, time also seemed to crawl along, particularly if we had a boring teacher whereby we would agonize over how slow the hands on the classroom clock would move. There never were any second hands on the clocks in our day. However, they would make a distinctive click just two seconds before the minute hand moved. When we heard the click just before the end of the class, we instinctively began rushing for the door. Time was perhaps the slowest as we approached the holidays. Students turn into zombies as they await being released for the holidays or summer. I really do not think it is possible to teach them anything during this period as their minds are elsewhere.

Time starts to speed up after we leave high school though. We look around and all of our classmates have left to start their lives, be it in the military, in a job, in college or in a technical school. From ages 18-22, we begin to notice how fast time goes by. One minute we’re graduating from high school, the next we’re starting our careers and adult life. It doesn’t slow down either. During our 20’s and 30’s, our lives are moving at warp speed as our career and family begin to blossom.

It doesn’t slow down in your 40’s and 50’s either as you remain active personally and professionally, but you start to notice that your children and their friends, who you used to watch playing in the yard yesterday, are now grown up, have facial hair, and smoke and drink.

I don’t know about retirement, which kind of scares me. Some people tell me things slow down radically as they retire, others say they’ve never been busier. Some complete their college education that alluded them earlier in life, others travel, and still others take on smaller and more menial jobs which keeps them in contact with people.

I believe the speed of time is measured by how actively we use our mind. If we want it to go faster, we have to remain busy and possess an intellectual curiosity about life. If we want to slow it down though, all we need to do is withdraw and surrender to tedium. Which is better, fast or slow? I guess it’s a matter of who you talk to. I just can’t help but thinking time will slow to a crawl when we’ve finally departed this world.

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
– Albert Einstein

Keep the Faith!

 

SHARE
Tim Bryce is a freelance writer and management consultant located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. As an avid writer and speaker, Tim discusses everything from business and management, to politics and morality, to systems and technology, and our ever changing world.