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How To Slow Down Time

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  Ferris Bueller

It’s a cliché that time flies, especially when you’re having fun, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t we find ourselves saying “time flies” when we look back on a whole year? Or ten years? Or even a lifetime? What is it about retrospect that makes time seem to have gone faster?

Of course it hasn’t gone any faster than it’s going in the present moment, it’s all down to perspective, just as objects appear smaller the further away they are. If they didn’t it would be practically impossible for us to make sense of them. It’s a necessary illusion.

Is it the same with time? Maybe it’s necessary for our past experiences to seem shorter and faster than they were so that we can free up more mental space to focus on the present. If we can’t actually stop time (like the housewife in that great Twilight Zone episode “A Little Peace and Quiet”), we can slow it down – perceptually at least. By practicing being more mindful, focusing on the here and now, we can truly occupy the moment.

By being more mindful, I don’t just mean sitting meditatively and focusing on nothing but your breathing (though this does have its merits). I mean making the most of what time we have so that we use it as productively as possible, rather than doing things on autopilot while our minds are off somewhere else, worrying about something in the future, obsessing about something in the past, or daydreaming about something inconsequential and pointless.

I think the older we get, the faster time seems to fly by. All the more reason to slow it down and get the most out of every day. And not waste time and energy worrying about things that in a year’s time will seem to have gone by so fast they’ll be a blur.

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