Time

We measure time in segments, equal segments of varying types that represent an imagined progression of events.  But we experience time much differently.  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has made a public reputation from his book “Flow”, which covers both creativity and satisfaction/happiness, pleasure; how we experience time when we are fully engaged in an activity.  I have found his ideas useful, if often difficult to adequately research or measure. There have been more recent theorists of the experience of time, and they have ponderous insights.  Colloquially, people speak of how they experience time frequently.  I find myself reflecting quite a bit lately on how time seems to have changed for me.  It is as if it was in a holding pattern for a while, a slow stream rambling along.  The suddenly it accelerated, and wham!  I feel as if I suddenly entered a new stage of life.  It all started with my Grandmother passing this past winter.  Then like falling dominoes multiple events occurred in quick succession (See? A sensation of “quick”= a few months). This week feels like I woke up and am now symbolically much more gray haired.  We are caring for my father in ways we never had to before, and saw his much-loved sister in a state of fragility on a visit.  As I said to husband, we have moved into a new generational slot.  I felt it coming last fall when I got to spend time with a cousin’s adult child whom I like very much.  My youngest starts formal elementary school this fall, and that adds to the sensation.I have read that time does not really exist.  It is a construct we use to describe experience, but in physics it is not really a useful idea.  Change occurs in matter, but the meaning of that change is up for debate.  There are so many points of reference on this topic, just thinking about it leads my hands to stop typing, and my brain to wander.  Perhaps it is not a useful blog topic at all.  A clock metes out 60 second slots.  I need to get up and do things before the sun sets again, before my children’s bellies growl.  All sorts of ways to measure change, time.  It is the reacting to the measure that makes all the difference I suppose.  I can watch the change, passive, or I can act.  The change happens, and I participate.  That it sometimes feels utterly out of my control, and in sped up fashion; that I feel the need to react quickly, that is a perceptual problem.  I have no more time for this today.  Maybe more time tomorrow.

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