A post about time.

Quite a few animals can perceive time. Goldfish. Humans. Bees. We as humans, obviously experience it. On the scale of a human lifetime it often seems to be happening slowly and speeding up as we age.

The COVID pandemic which is winding down in the United States at the time of writing seemed to steal a couple years of our lives. Years without wine and food with friends. Almost two years without seeing my parents who are becoming elderly.

What did that do to younger people during their formative social years? Did I lose two years for a relative risk that they did not? I can’t say with any certainty that when I was in my late teens and early twenties that I would’ve regarded the pandemic with the seriousness I believe was due. I likely would’ve been out making worse choices than they did.

I think the problem is that time is always happening. Things are always moving forward, you can’t unbreak the egg. That’s the objective view of time.

The subjective view however, I think humans can influence. The subjective view of time is what scares me the most. There are events that are almost a decade ago now, that I remember more clearly than last week. Because of the importance placed on those events, or the novelty of those experiences, they’re fundamental memories. Points in my subjective view of time that are fixed in the space of my existence.

That’s fucking scary.

I don’t want to forget more than I’ve lived. The time inbetween, if I don’t remember it, did I live it? I mean, clearly I did, I’m here now. There must be some intervening events. But if I don’t remember them, then in my experience they never happened.

What can we do to fix it?

I’m not terribly sure. Novelty seems to be one remedy. However, I think the systems of how we live don’t lend themselves to novelty, they lend themselves to structure. Rigid, unchanging schedule. Get up. Go to work. Workout. Watch some TV. Go to bed. This is easier, and life can be hard, already. Actively searching out novelty takes effort.

And so much like any good habit (thank you James Clear), novelty would have to somehow be built into your day. How to do that? I’m still thinking about it. Sorry, no clear cut answers here!