Thursday, 2 February 2012

Time sprints on.

I turned the calendar over from January to February today.  It seemed too soon to do it yesterday.  I couldn't believe that one month of the year was gone already.  Every year, it's the same thing - how time flies.

Why does it feel like this, I wonder, given the actual pace of time according to our manufactured systems for measuring and counting time is fixed?  It is true that we refer to the days in winter as being "shorter" than summer days.  What we really mean is that the period of daylight is shorter because of our orbit around the sun.  A day is still a full 24 hours long and these hours are still comprised of 60 minutes, with each minute being made up of 60 seconds.  I'm not sure what comes next in the line of division, but you get the idea.

So it is our perception of time that changes, not time itself.

Having spent three weeks relaxing on holidays with no deadlines and no requirements being placed on me by others, I was not aware of time.  It didn't seem to be passing quickly or slowly.  The days were just what they were.  Almost from the moment I arrived back in the city though, I started to feel the sense of "time flying" again.  I think I've realised why.

My mindset is completely different when I'm on holidays.  I am living more in the present moment and less focussed on what is happening tomorrow or next week, or even "next".  When I'm back in work mode in the city, I have to have a plan for most days.  I'm needed to be places with people, or I need to prepare to be somewhere with people.  This is an even bigger focus now that I'm self-employed - I have to have a future focus to make sure I have enough work and enough clients to earn money.

The lesson for me seems to be to find a way to stay in the present, or at least spend some time each day being consciously in the present.  Otherwise, I'll be turning the calendar over to December tomorrow.

One of the things that helps when I'm on holidays with my family is to go for a walk with Alfie, the Jack Russell (you met him here).  Alfie is completely in the present.  He happily runs along and then his nose will pick up a scent and he'll follow that for a while, then there will be a puddle which is worth inspecting and then a hare will run past and Alfie will be off.  It's instructive to watch.  He works without a plan or an agenda.

There used to be three dogs to walk - Alfie, a Kelpie and a Labrador.  This sense of being in the moment was even greater when there were three of them to watch.  They seemed to be playful and curious and just happy to be in each other's company, walking along in the afternoon sunshine, enjoying the moment.  This seems like a good thing to do.

Is time flying for you? What do you do to slow it down?

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