Recollections of a High School Counselor: Time Passages… The Rush

Time passes much too quickly                                                                                                                         can’t see all there is  to see                                                                                                                                   On my lifelong journey                                                                                                                                          to my home… JS

3935e29ea76038b4647cc1b6604f8c3aCan you believe it’s February 5th already? Where does the time go? Seems like only yesterday we were getting ready for the winter holidays and the next thing you know Blam! Christmas and New Years are a memory and the first month of the new year has passed! What happened to 2015? It seemed to blow by so quickly my mind’s still reeling and I’m having a bit of a problem getting my head around the fact that it’s 2016! Yeah, every new year seems to pass more quickly than the last. I know they (those unseen authorities on everything) say that as we grow older time does indeed pass faster, and although I question some of their scientific evidence, I do believe them. But it’s more than just that. It’s not just us older folk who are experiencing this sensation of time passing faster, even teens and children report feeling the ‘rush’. If they’re feeling it now I have to wonder what the rush will feel like when they get into their sixties and seventies.

Remember when we were kids and time didn’t seem to matter? We had all the time in the world. The days were long and adventure filled and the summers seemed to never end. And we enjoyed every moment. As long as we heeded the call of the streetlights and made our way home when they came on, life was good. Of course the summer did eventually end usually after the Labor Day holiday but by then most of us were ready to return to school. And yes the school year seemed to last forever as well.

Now I don’t have any scientific evidence regarding time passing more quickly for children, I don’t even know if there is any, but I do have the input of students ages 11 – 18 throughout my 27 year teaching and counseling career, who believed that time was passing too quickly. Students who felt that the school year or years had flown by. I can’t tell you how many times I had a senior in my office lamenting the quick passage of their 4 years in high school. “I remember coming in here as a scared little freshmen and sitting in this very chair,” many would tell me, “I can’t believe that was 4 years ago, it seems like yesterday.” The rush.

Closer to home, my own grandchildren and grandnephew have shared with me their disbelief that time is passing quickly. Even my six year old granddaughter has said something to me about it. They’re feeling the rush. I sure don’t remember ever feeling the rush during my childhood, do you? If anything time used to seem to stand still. Sadly many of today’s kids have been denied that simple pleasure.

As I mentioned before there is scientific evidence that proves that we perceive time passing at a faster rate as we grow older. But what was once felt only by older individuals is now being felt by people of all ages. I’m sure advancements in technology and our fast paced lifestyle play a large part in the speed up, but this lower age of awareness troubles me. It’s a real shame that kids are caught up in the rush and don’t get to experience the endless summer sensation that we all did. They have their entire lives ahead of them yet they are already feeling ‘pressed for time.’

If only there was a way to create the extra time we need all would be well but that just isn’t possible. Time is absolute. A minute is still 60 seconds long, no more, no less, a year 365 days, so it seems that there isn’t anything we can do to avoid the rush. Ah but perhaps there is. Real time as measured by clocks and calendars differs greatly from our own individual, perception of time. No matter what our age we have all experienced moments or periods of time that seem to go on and on, and others moments that appear to fly by.  If we could learn to harness this ability to make time stretch perhaps we wouldn’t feel the rush nearly as much.

Nice trick if we can learn how to do it. And we can. Our focus, state of mind, mood, physical and emotional state all heavily influence our perception of time. If we can somehow get a handle on our lives and our lifestyle we can slow things down a bit. It’s been suggested that improving our cognitive skills especially attention and memory can help us improve our internal clocks. Avoiding stress through meditation is another way to heighten our awareness of the here and now and fine tune our inner clock and in time may actually help slow down the sensation of time passing quickly.

It seems it’s all in the planning. We need to become better time managers and stop wasting the time we have been given. It’s so easy to waste time on unimportant things or worse yet, doing nothing at all. We’ve got to be conscious of what we are doing while we are doing it so that time doesn’t get away from us. We not only need to do more, but we need to notice more. Awareness is the key. We need to be mindful and learn to appreciate our surroundings. Doing so can slow down our brains perception of time. So put your cell phones away, spend less time on FaceBook and turn off the autopilot that you’ve been going through life on.  Get out of the rut and mix things up a bit. Leave that day in day out routine that eat’s up your time. Stop living life in a blur. Enjoy the time you’ve been given, make every moment count.

Just Saying…

 

 

 

 

 

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