Tick Tock

I hope this is a short post…it’s getting late.

When I moved to Australia, where they use kilometers rather than miles (a km is a little more than half a mile), I felt that it took forever to cover a km in the car. I waited and waited for the navigation system (Google Map) to finally announce that it was time to turn.

Jump forward…I returned to the U.S. and the miles I had grown up with. I couldn’t believe how far a mile was and how long it took to cover it…even a quarter mile seemed to be infinity. I wondered, “What the hell is going on?”

Then there were the traffic lights. Northern Virginia is not New York City…it’s worse, with what seemed 5-minute waits at red lights on wide streets with little traffic. Impatient with the delay in how time was passing, both in Australia and Virginia, I used the stop watch app on my phone to measure what seemed like hours at red lights. The delay ranged from less than a minute to about three (painful) minutes.

I swear that my mind doubled these wait times. Tripled them. An order of magnitude.

I was baffled because all the “experts” said that time goes fast as you age. Then I ran across a post that brought together a lot of ideas this blog has addressed. Speaking bluntly, time seems to speed up as we age if we don’t do new things, fall back on what some call automatic behavior, repeat each day. This makes sense.

Alternatively, if we constantly have new experiences our minds are focused, not wanting to miss something, and time dilates (I can never remember if dilation makes it slower or faster…whatever), dragging on and on and on, etc.

I suggest that everyone read the link above and, if your days are flying past, the red lights changing too quickly to notice, try some of the tips the authors recommend.

Apparently, writing about the Dao De Jing, wondering what it might mean to a person in my situation, was a useful exercise. Now, I enjoy the red lights that last for hours and nod to fellow travelers, even watching for storm clouds on the horizon…

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