I have a lofty goal for 2019. I want to make time slow down. You may be thinking that I’ve had a little too much spiked eggnog over the holidays, sadly I did not. I have however, been thinking about this goal for a long time and I realize that it is not as “impossible” as it may seem. Let me explain.
When I was a kid time seemed limitless. Everyday passed by very slowly. The days leading up to Christmas seemed to drag. Summer vacation was painfully long and I couldn’t wait to go back to school to see my friends. I’ve always been curious about why these feelings have left me as I’ve gotten older. Why is it that since I’ve grown up, time seems to have sped up?
I have come to realize that it all boils down to perception. Sadly, by the time we are seven years old, half of our perceived life is over. That is why it is so common to hear (and say), “I can’t believe it is (insert any month of the year) already?”
So how can I change my perception of time so that it actually feels like it’s slowing down?
One of the reasons time seems so slow for children is that all of their experiences are new. As we age, our experiences tend to become routine and as a result our brain begins to blur them together. However, the good news is that it doesn’t matter what age we are, trying something new wakes up the brain. So, this year I am going to try to do something new every week. Ideas that I’ve already considered are: trying new recipes, driving new routes, and learning to knit.
Curiosity is a muscle, if we don’t use it, we will lose it. Being curious means clearing your mind of preconceived notions, assumptions and any strongly held habits. Here is the test I took to check on the state of my curiosity – How many uses of a shoe can I imagine? I could only come up with twelve. Truly curious people can think of hundreds! And, curiosity is key to slowing down time, because using our minds for creation allows us to be in the present moment. Being in the moment means that we are not jumping into the future and fantasizing about how we’d like things to go, or delving into the past and focusing about how things were. In the present moment, time stands still.
So what can I do to become curious again in 2019?
- Focus: I am going to let go of multitasking for five minutes each day and do one thing using all of my senses and without distraction.
- Slow Down: I am going to practice slowing down by focusing on doing a simple task (like eating a muffin) very slowly.
- Be Present in Nature: When I walk the dogs, I am not going to wear any headphones and I am going to stop and observe the street and the park as if I have never seen it before.
I absolutely love meditation and I do it religiously. I’m happiest when I make it part of my daily routine. I feel grounded, centered and calm because of this practice. I can however easily put it aside and let other priorities become more important, even though I know that meditation is one of the easiest ways to help slow my perception of time. And the other bonus for me is better sleep and more self-compassion. This year, I am going to maintain my focus on my daily mediation practice.
Worry Less About My To Do List
I am a huge list maker. I have lists all over my house. A grocery list, a shopping list, a packing list, a repair list, a work objectives list. Studies have shown that in general, time seems to pass more quickly when we feel stressed about having too much to do. I have experienced this for sure. There have been times when I felt the pressure of time mixing with an endless To Do list. This year I am going to alleviate this pressure by focusing on working smarter. Less multitasking and more realistic expectations about what needs to get done will be my focus for 2019.
Leave My Phone Behind
I have come to realize that constant connection to my devices speeds up my perception of time. This year, I am going to choose a day per week in which I am going to unplug completely and just enjoy the day… like I used to do prior to my smartphone.
I am looking forward to a new approach in 2019 and enjoying the year slowly. Each moment is a gift and I plan to savour its newness, uniqueness and presence. How do you want your 2019 to be different? I look forward to hearing your resolutions for 2019 comment below.
To our health and wellbeing,