We are always fighting time. It’s all we have and it’s always running out.
In the modern world, efficiency is king.
The anti-aging industry is currently worth $200 BILLION dollars.
And of course, we spend money to look younger but don’t take action to savor the time we have.
Time as we know it, doesn't exist
The most successful theories in physics show time -- as we experience it -- doesn't exist.
Everything in our Universe is determined by absolute laws that do not change with 'time.'
So what we perceive as time may just be a convenient illusion that can be replaced by computation.
It's hard to know, of course, but one thing is for sure: the way we interface with time isn't how 'time' actually is.
So what would happen if we transformed the way we experience time, knowing that it is in fact different than what we're experiencing?
Whether time actually exists is still up for debate.
Some argue it's part of this dimension, and others that it’s a construct humans invented.
Regardless, there are a few things we actually do know about this invisible obsession.
Speed and gravity slow time down
Speed: Astronauts who go to space will return younger than if they stayed on Earth the entire time.
That's because the faster we move, the slower time ticks. If somehow you were able to travel at the speed of light, time would stop altogether.
It’s called time dilation. Here's a full explanation that breaks it all down if you want to dive deeper.
Gravity: A stronger gravitational force slows time down as well.
If you were in space near a black hole (a lot of gravity), the 1 hour you experience may be 50 years that pass on Earth!
To put it another way, if you are on top of a mountain, time is moving faster than if you were at the bottom even though how you experience it will be the same.
Here's another mind-bender: because the gravity of Earth’s core is so strong, it’s said to be about 2.5 years younger than the crust.
How time affects humans
The way humans perceive time is complex and subjectively relative.
First of all, there isn’t one place in our brain that records time -- there are many.
One part is responsible for our circadian rhythm, while another section performs timekeeping.
Another part plans for the future, while another can become nostalgic in the past.
Time can fly when we're having fun, and drag when we just want to leave work.
So although our experience of time is a unifying flow, it's actually the conglomeration of different parts of our brain coming together to create our experience of time.
With all of that said, there’s the good news, and bad news.
Let’s start with the bad news.
Our perception of time tends to speed up as we get older.
One year experienced by a 55-year-old passes approximately 2¼ times faster than a year experienced by an 11-year-old.
Your age determines how long you experience each moment of time.
One reason is children are always soaking up as much information as possible and constantly changing their mental models of the world.
Therefore, they process time slower because their brain is consistently engaging with new and rich experiences.
As we get older, we step out of our comfort zones less.
In other words, we expose ourselves to similar (or the same) stimuli over and over.
And because the brain has already sufficiently mapped those experiences, we run on auto-pilot while engaging with them.
Since we're not having those novel, enriching experiences, our perception of time speeds up.
The good news is, it doesn't have to be that way for us adults.
Although we may not be as daring or bold as children, we can engage in activities that are novel.
'Saving time' doesn't mean lengthening it
While there are many strategies out there to 'save time,' they don't help you live in the moment longer.
And if we're always living to try and save more time, we're never actually experiencing it well.
Too many people are focused on how to save minutes when they should be focused on how to experience moments.
Take a trip to a country you've never been. Bonus if you don't know much about it.
Drive a different route to work.
If you always listen to podcasts, listen to music.
Always listen to music? Turn it off.
Try something new in your city.
Go for a walk in nature and pay close attention to the trees.
Change your mental models by being open-minded and seeking new information.
Then, maybe over time, you can lengthen it.