We have been staying in a little hotel, in Chaloklum for a couple of months now and it has been lovely. The routine became firmly set. I rise and take two stray dogs we have adopted for a walk on the beach. Go to Sun Cafe for morning Italian coffee and do some work. Swim in pool. Have brunch. Some more work. Pool. Beach for sunset. Out for dinner. Repeat for 30 days.
The first month went by fairly slowly but the second has flown. The reason? The first month was novel, the second not so much. Familiarity with a set rhythm points to time speeding up.
When we were children, both adventurous and boring periods seemed to last forever. But as we get older our perception of time changes and seems to race ahead. Why is this so? I believe there are two reasons for this.
Firstly, when we are young, activities are novel and exciting plus we cram in a lot of movements and experiences. Our participation in living in the now was natural. So when we look back and compare those times to our present life, which tends to be less dense, time seemed thicker way back then.
Secondly, when older, a month in proportion to your whole life is much less than when a child; which may mean as we get older we perceive blocks of time as relatively shorter in duration.
So how do we slow time down and develop what I call Fat Time? (I’m not sure where I first got this notion of time but it may have been from Glynn Braddy or Stuart Wilde). The way I see it there are two things we can do to fatten time up a bit.
Firstly we can disrupt our routines and adopt novel things. The more novel life is — the more we are feeling our way into new areas — the more information we need to process. This tends to fatten out time.
So if you go out to meet new people at the Hellfire club rather than staying at home — the evening hours will seem longer. Or if you go to a yoga class in your pajamas with a night hat and dangling cotton ball then the class will feel longer (for all attendees actually, as they laugh or frown at you).
Secondly we can pay attention. This will naturally happen when we are taking on new things as stated above. But what about the more mundane activities in life where time seems to quicken? To fatten it out we can develop mindfulness around such things as doing the dishes, taking the dog for a walk, folding the clothes — whatever activity where we are easily distracted, we can deliberately take a deep breath, breathe out and pay attention. Tidying up the verandah becomes a meditation.
The more attention we put into our activities the less the mind wanders and time will fatten.
It may not mean that we experience time like we did when we were a little tackers, but it may expand our perceptions and put the brakes a little bit on the next anniversary coming around.
A nice book on this topic is: Making Time by Steve Taylor