Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Perception of Time

After volleyball last night the brother and I stopped in Newport Bar and Grill.  It has a U-shaped bar.  We sat at the left, bottom corner of the U.  At the other corner was a group of 5 guys and girl.  They were a bit loud - not obnoxious - and ordering a lot of shots.

Bartender (To us and a regular):  "I think it's a 21st birthday."
LpCardsFan:  Could be.
Bartender (To apparent bday boy): "Is it your 21st birthday?"
BDay Boy:  "No.  21 was a long time ago."
Barender:  25th?
BDay Boy:  "Two years younger than that."
(The bartender, the regular, my brother, and I all guffawed.)
LpCardsFan (to brother):  If it makes you feel any better, they've wasted their entire lives on Facebook.

I remember my 23rd birthday.  Vaguely.  If I recall the two years between 21 and 23 did seem a long gap at the time.  Life is different now.  I'm trying to figure out where 2010 went. And 2011 is nearly over.

When I was young, maybe in junior high school, my father told me that time sped up as you got older.  I thought he was nuts at the time.  At the very least he was exaggerating.  Now?  Now, I get it.  Technically, time passes at the same speed* now as it did those decades ago when I was roving the halls of Jefferson Junior High.  A minute takes 60 seconds to elapse now and then.  A second still has a duration of 9,192,631,770 cycles of radiation corresponding to the transition between two energy levels of the cesium-133 atom.

The difference between my 12 year old self and my 40 year old self is the number of responsibilities I have.  The number of activities I have to complete** in a week now are vastly greater than I had when I was 12.  They're quite a bit greater than when I was 21.  Or 23 too. I believe the more down time one has the more one notices time passing and that makes time seem to slow down.

So I get it.  At 23 there is less one has to do and one notices time inching by.  Additionally, those two years between his 21st and 23rd birthday represents close to 10% of his life.

* The General Theory of Relativity not withstanding.
** Almost all those activites are self-imposed.



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