At the end of every year, people always say, “Wow, that year passed by quickly.” or “I can’t believe the year is already over.” or “That year really flew by!”. I say these things too so I can be wonderfully cliché along with everyone else, but also because I believe it too at times.
Was I still in middle school at the beginning of the year? Did I only start my blog half a year ago? Is my winter break already half over?
Why are we always surprised about time passing even though we’ve lived with it our entire life? What determines whether time passes slowly or quickly?
My explanation for this is that we’re rarely aware of time passing. We live in a series of “nows,” and “now” is the only time that our brain is able to understand, if we even choose to notice it in the first place.
In fact, we’re so unaware of it that we need other machines to keep track of time for us.
I’ve always wanted to do an experiment where I would lock someone in a room with no clock and nothing to do for an hour (without them knowing), and ask them how long they thought they spent in there once they came out. I bet people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between an hour or two. I know I wouldn’t.
This also explains the reason why “time flies when you’re having fun” When you’re being distracted (or having fun), time isn’t a concern, so theoretically, you expect to be staying in the same moment forever. However, if you’re just staring at the clock with nothing to do, all your effort is being focused on time, so you’re aware of more “nows,” therefore making the moment seem longer.
And there’s another one of my crazy theories explained. Happy New Year’s eve/early New Year’s/New Year’s/ late New Year’s depending on when you read this and what time zone you’re in right now.