“Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day…”
“Every year is getting shorter…never seem to find the time.”
-From Pink Floyd’s “Time”
Time is the great equalizer. At least that’s what I hear. But why is it that some things seem to slow time down, while others seem to make it fly by?
The typical conclusion is that “time flies while you’re having fun”. And I think there is some truth to that for sure. Weekends fly by while weeks drag. Vacations go by in a heartbeat, and you’re watching the clock tick by at work.
But there’s that feeling, that many of us can’t seem to shake. It comes up every time we have a birthday, or when the ball drops on New Years Eve indicating that the earth has traveled around the sun one more time. We think “What did I do this year? What did I accomplish? I can’t believe another year went by!” And often, it’s hard to point to more than a handful of things. And this is depressing!
I’m saying it doesn’t have to be this way.
I had a conversation with a friend the other day about my recent trip to SE Asia. He asked me if time seemed to slow down or disappear. And that’s EXACTLY what it felt like. The trip didn’t actually fly by! It was just that time seemed completely irrelevant….a lot of the time I was there. I often forgot what day it was, and I would do 27 things in a day and have no idea what time it was.
Instead of the typical vacation which is often over before you know it, each day kind of flowed into the next, and it seemed like suddenly, “being productive” was something I was doing 24 hours a day. A lot of this has to do with how the mind processes information. I had mostly new information coming at me each day. New sights, new people, new language. It’s an amazing feeling, and an addictive one!
When I got back to San Diego, I was thrilled. Things here are so nice. The weather is perfect. There is lots of natural beauty. Lots to do. But I’ve seen all of it, I know where everything is and how it looks, and I slowly began sliding back to worrying about “getting things done”, creating my future, paying the bills, being able to afford the things I want, and “figuring out life”. This was the exact opposite of waking up each day and having a new adventure and new surroundings, and not knowing where I’m headed next.
Time is back to going by quickly, lots of things aren’t getting done, and I’m getting older by the minute. I could easily start freaking out about these realities…
But this can be completely avoided…by living a life of adventure! Do you have to be a world traveler to create this life of adventure? No way! (it doesn’t hurt though…and will definitely make you more interesting!). A side benefit is, even more things will get done while your life has shifted into the exciting-and-new world.
The idea is to think about creating the best memories possible, whenever you are making a decision.
Here are a few ways to create the feeling of more time, or make time irrelevant to your peace of mind:
1. Read for pleasure. I LOVE biographies, and specifically, autobiographies. Right now I’m reading Olympic decathlon gold medalist Dan O’Brien’s book, Clearing Hurdles: The Quest To Be The World’s Greatest Athlete. Books can take you into new worlds, inspire you, and give you all kinds of ideas that you don’t get by simply working or going to your job.
2. Meet someone new every day. I started doing this and it makes life as a solo entrepreneur a little less lonely, and you find out all kinds of cool and interesting things about people, and occasionally make a cool connection.
3. Break up the routine. Take different routes to get places. Check out a new coffee shop, a new bar, and a new grocery store. Pick an area of your town that you’ve never been to and explore it. Become a tourist in your own town! It’s amazing all the things you miss when you are busy with your daily routine.
4. Write down ideas every day. It doesn’t matter how many. I learned this from James Altucher’s Daily Practice. Doing this consistently for a while will lead to becoming an idea machine, and start feeling infinite possibilities, instead of dead ends.
5. Mix up your exercise. I don’t care if you’re training for a marathon, a triathlon, or just moving to optimize your body’s potential. You can mix it up. Bike in a different part of town. Check out a new pool. Just make sure to get off the deadmill if that’s your main form of exercise (not that I hate treadmills, but I just don’t think humans were meant to use equipment like that for workouts!)
6. Learn something new. This will keep you fresh and engaged. Learn one thing you’re interested in knowing how to do, then move on to the next thing. Seems counter-intuitive, but taking on a new challenge can help you create time!
7. Stay on the path of growth. If you’re not growing…well you’re going to be bored! And who likes boring people? Nobody! Growing and achieving is going to keep your mind active and young. (it’s also the ticket to a great relationship).
8. Accept death as inevitable. This might sound out of left field. But, so many people are terrified of death and let that stop them from actually enjoying life to the fullest, and accomplishing what they really want to accomplish. For an in depth look at this phenomenon, check out Sam Harris talk on Death and the Present Moment. This is more about living in the present than anything else.
So keep having adventures. Do something excellent, as Steve from The Tao of Steve would say. We all have the same amount of time. Do you want it to fly by as you sweat the small stuff in life, watch CNN, & live in fear? Or make great memories out of your present, and welcome the beautiful world of constant change?