Often I hear so many people ask the question: “where does the time go?” It’s not an unusual question, especially with so many graduations taking place during this time of year. I often have to hold myself back from saying what is really on my mind, “time didn’t just slip away, you allowed yourself to become too busy.” I think that this is very true. We’ve trained ourselves to keep our lives filled to the brim with work, errands, and chores. It’s easy to understand why many feel that time has slipped away from them.
I can remember growing up with face-to-face conversations and talking on the phone. We built relationships with people, not by hiding behind computer or cell phone screens to communicate. Instead, we made friendships, lasting ones, the right old fashion way. We played rope, played hide and seek, and rode our bikes. As a young person, my mom would sit outside on the front steps. We talked with our neighbors and became a part of one another’s lives. We didn’t build what I like to call surface friendships, the kind of relationships that give way to the minimum. The type of relationships where we choose what we share and how much information we are looking to share with others — a lot like social media friendships. The idea of building real-life relationships seems to have vanished.
Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who still has friends that you see often, but for the rest of us, they are far and few between them. We look at co-workers, television, and Facebook to bridge the gap in our lives because we’ve become too busy. The truth is, your child didn’t grow up in a blink of an eye. It took years and years for that to happen. Instead, life’s events kept you preoccupied. Time doesn’t fly by, but depending on your age and how busy you make life to be, there is this tendency to think that events happened much longer ago than they did. Perhaps the accelerated sense of time may stem in part from the repetition of activities, such as birthdays or holidays that are happening for you. Each year they’re more familiar, so it seems as though they just happened. However, let’s face it when was the last time that you took time out of your day to sit and listen to your surroundings. When was the last time that you met that friend for coffee instead of saying, “we should get together?” Being social is a part of being human. It’s what we are meant to be.
Imagine you had a little counter in your head, an internal clock, which most people believe the brain has, in some form. To monitor the passage of time, you have to control time, or add up, and count and collect those little clicks. Right? You have to keep track of how many are going by. But if your attention is devoted to a different task, like the visual search task, then you sometimes will miss the clicks that come by your attention. Time only flies whenever your attention is engaged in an activity, and you’re trying to monitor the passage of time.