September 12, 2011

I'm Living in a Time Warp

Is it just me, or has time speeded up without telling anyone? Has the government decided to save energy by making each day several hours shorter? Has my calendar shortchanged some of the months so a year isn't as long as it used to be?

I feel like I'm in some sort of "Beam me up, Scottie" time warp. We just celebrated Christmas a little while ago, didn't we? How can the next one be less than 4 months away? How is it possible 2011 is almost 75% over. I'm still writing 2010 on checks. There is no way I'll be 63 in 8 months. That's the age of my parents (25 years ago !).

When I was a younger man time moved at a proper pace. The days spent on the road or between vacations was about right. A year lasted the correct amount of time. Now, just as time becomes more precious  it accelerates. That seems remarkably unfair. Not just days, but whole weeks seem to simply disappear. The trip we took to Tubac, AZ seems like just a few weeks ago, not half a year. Was it really 16 months ago Betty and I took our "Drive Til You Drop" road trip? That can't be.

The advice I read says there is a way to get time to cooperate. If I live in the moment, savor each thing I do, and not look ahead to an event in the future, time was again click by at the regular pace. OK. That works for a little while. Then, we are off to the races again.

I've also read some scientific reasons why time seems to speed up as we get older. It involves something about dense, first memories, and sketchy later memories. Sounds plausible, but not helpful in getting whatever is causing my time loss to stop. The suggestion was to have more first-time, intense experiences that cause fresh dense memories. That was particularly unhelpful advice.

One lady, Merry Walker, posted this on 6 years ago:

"When you're five years old, a year is one fifth of your life. That makes it seem like an impossibly long time, especially if you're five and have to wait until next year for something you really want.

In comparison, when you're 20, a year is only one twentieth of your life, and while the days don't exactly fly by yet, a year doesn't seem like the eternity it was at five.

By the time you're 50 and a year is only one fiftieth of the time you've experienced, a year whips by pretty quickly."

Makes it all sound reasonable and normal. That may be but but my time loss is very personal to me.

Nothing I found on the Internet seems to solve the problem. Since time is really a man-made, artificial system of measurement, you'd think someone would invent a way to have it stop running away from me. 

This post is a bit shorter than what I normally write. But, it seems as though the last half day disappeared while I was on the laptop writing this. Since that proves my point I will quit while there is still part of the day left......oh's gone.

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  1. Bob, I tend to judge the sped of the weeks by trash days. Every time Tuesday comes around it seems impossible that another week has gone by. Am wondering how long it will be until I state counting how many Saturdays I may have left.

  2. You think you got it bad. Just look at the time stamp for this comment. I'm up while you are still snoozing away and still the day ends almost before it starts.
    I think we need to start a conspiracy theory about this! Maybe the government it doing it to get all us seniors off social security quicker :)

  3. This is amazingly true...My daughter came for a visit and I can't believe three days went as quickly as it did!

    Hope you found some hours in your day yesterday (that you still remember!) :)!

  4. Hi Stan,

    Our trash day is Thursday and recycling day is Monday. You are right: they are two key points in the week that define its (rapid) passage.

    Since today is Monday, I guess I'd better get the papers and cans out by the curb!

  5. Time definitely picks up speed when you realize how finite it is-you feel like life will go on forever when you're young. As we get older we become more aware of how precious time is and that we have less time ahead of us-but we still have this time right now. If ever there was a time to live in the moment,this is it.

  6. Donna,

    The finite nature of time is the part that we have a tough time accepting. As humans, we think we control our destiny and circumstances. Not true!

  7. Just saw you featured on Money! Congratulations!

  8. RJ,

    Is that time stamp your time zone, or mine? If yours (3:48 AM) I need to send you a new alarm clock. If mine, we are on the same schedule. Today is my day to spend several hours at the prison ministry office so I was up before 6:30.

    Even so, by the time I get home mid afternoon, the day is effectively over. Maybe it is a plot!

  9. Sharon,

    The one person in my life who really tracks the passage of time is my dad. If I don't call for 5 or 6 days, he reminds me it has been "forever" since we talked.

    Yesterday was actually not bad. We got home from church commitments by noon and I got to watch the Cardinals beat the Panthers!

  10. Terry,

    Thanks! The article is generally correct, though I wouldn't refer to living on $45,000 as living on the cheap. More accurately might be living well on less.

    The actual magazine is due out soon. There is supposed to be a picture of the whole family. I'm looking forward to it.

  11. Solve this one, patent that solution, and you're set for (an apparently much longer) life!

    Loved it, Bob. I grapple with this every minute, which may explain what happens to a significant number of them.

  12. Hi Nance,

    How hard can it be to come up with a replacement for the word "retirement?" I may spend a fair amount of my time on the beach in Hawaii in a few weeks waiting for divine inspiration.

  13. Hi Bob,
    You were highlighted in an article. Did you know?

  14. Bob,
    I know just what you mean. I can't believe it's been a year since we visited our son in LA. Still I think the trick is to live for the future rather than dwelling on the past. It always takes a long time for anticipated future times to happen and besides if I don't get busy planning them they won't happen at all.

  15. Hi Bob...saw your article and link to your website! I write a very similar blog...Ready for Retirement at . Would love for us to link to each others' site. Pat Edens

  16. Ralph,

    A good example: we have been looking forward to our trip to Hawaii for 5 months. The last few weeks are crawling. Once we are there, the 3 weeks will seem to be a tremendously long time. But, the last 3-4 days on Maui will go by in the blink of an eye.

    Anticipated events take a long time while past events seem closer to today than they really are. Time doesn't play fair.

  17. Morrison,

    Yes, that summary from the full article came out today. I'm looking forward to what is in the actual magazine. I wouldn't say we live on the cheap. I'd prefer to say "living well on less." There are lots of folks who wouldn't consider $45k to be cheap.

  18. Hi, Pat,

    Sure. I'll add you to my blog roll and you can do the same. I look forward to exchanging information and ideas.

  19. Our anticipation of our son's wedding was long. The week of celebration rolled by in a second. I see time moving more quickly than my husband. He still slowly does thing. I anticipate in a heart beat we could be apart forever. Now is the time to make each second count in our children's eyes

  20. Janette,

    Our mortality is a splash of cold water. Each of us respond differently, but I'm in your camp...running full speed to grab every second

  21. Instead of retiring to potentially dangerous Mixico, with seriously marked-up "land promotes" or to Costa Rica, take a look at the SAFEST place in the world - the South Pacific - in the Southern Hemisphere with only 10% of the world's population vs. 90% in the Northern Hemisphere, where most of the problems are and will occur !

    Join a savvy group of Canadian & American retirees and soon-to-be retired or semi-retired in the beautiful, unspoiled island country of Tonga, where permanent residency is acquirted with just US$550./mo. in "assured income" ! where our island ocean-view lots are just $4,950. each !

  22. John,

    Thanks for the info (and sales pitch!). Anyone who knows about living in the South pacific, please chime in...hawaii doesn't count.

  23. Time started speeding up for me with Y2K and I was still in my 20s.

  24. Logtar,

    Check back with us in another 10 years and let us know how it is going. You should be there in about 6 years!

    Your 20's...great time to want time to linger. At least I think I remember back that far.

  25. I too saw you featured on the CNN article "Retirees Living the Good Life on the Cheap." Congrats.

    The time warp for me? 9/11 was ... ten years ago. Seems like yesterday.

  26. Sightings,

    It is impossible that was 10 years ago! Look how that event has changed our life and the world, probably forever.

  27. GREAT BLOG - enjoyed your comments - would love to be on your e-mail list. I am about 24 months away from retiring and am trying to read everything I can about the journey into retirement. Thanks,

  28. Thanks Terri,

    I've added you to the e-mail list for updates. I am happy you are happy!

    I'm looking forward to helping you make the next 24 months exciting and productive for you.

  29. I was in the Army in Germany in 1981. Elections were being held in the USA. We were in the field and a German man told me that Jimmy Carter was just elected. It was real then but time is telling a different story.