Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Disheartening Perceptions of Time

I recently asked a man at church how long it had been since he had spoken in sacrament meeting. "Just a few months," he said. I referred to the record I've been keeping for three years of sacrament meeting speakers, and his last talk was two and a half years ago.

I don't doubt that he thought it had only been a few months, though. I've noticed lately two different places that I'm constantly surprised by the passage of time: my personal habit tracker, and my Goodreads account.

On the habit tracker, what feels like "two or three days" since I've done something I was supposed to be doing turns out to be more than a week, usually. "It's been a little bit since I've remembered to check my habit tracker," usually means it's been at least two weeks. And Goodreads tells you when the last time you updated your progress on a book. If it feels like I haven't read a book in a couple days, it's usually been 10 days or more.

Is this because life is so repetitive that days blur together? I remember the day I last read, and it had many of the same activities as yesterday, so I think maybe I read yesterday? Or is it just the result of a given period of time becoming a shorter percentage of life lived as one ages? I once read an article about a woman who could remember every day of her life since she was two or three years old; you gave her a date and she could recount to you everything she did, in order. I can't even remember what we watched for Family Movie Night last Friday unless I ask my wife (I asked yesterday, and it was Secret Life of Pets 2).

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