Tag Archives: years

The Changing Perception of Time

When I turned 55 last fall, I admit that I had a bit of a “life flashing before my eyes” experience. It wasn’t because I was having a near-death experience or anything like that, it was just the inevitable reminiscing that takes place around a major milestone, much like we do at New Year.

In that same train of thought, last month, I chose the date I will be retiring (in late spring), another pretty big life event. Since then, the subconscious walks down memory lane are hitting me faster than I can keep up with them which in turn, had me contemplating how we perceive time.

In chatting with family and friends (remotely, of course) over the holidays, I was reassured to hear that I am not alone in how my perception of time sometimes seems a little out of step with the clock and the calendar.

There is no doubt in my mind that I am indeed 55 years old and that I have offered up 33 years of my life to the public service, but in some ways it just doesn’t feel that way.

Deep down, I still feel like the same guy that I always was. But before I can allow myself to get too cocky about it, arthritis pops up to remind me that I am not as young as I think I am… that, and the fact that it takes an afternoon nap and copious amounts of caffeine to be able to watch Saturday Night Live (live) these days.

While my childhood seems like a distant place in time, sometimes feeling like it was hundreds of years ago, other life events seem significantly closer.

It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I was nearing the end of my university years, completely sick of studying, exams and homework, and itching to get on with my life. I vividly remember the hope for that “big break” into the working world. These are the scenes that seem to be replaying a lot in my head at the moment.

Along those same lines, I remember my 21st birthday party like it was just not that long ago.

I also remember that period as being a very social time, hanging out with different groups of friends, one from my part-time job, one from school, and one that was a fascinating group of friends and friends of friends that ended up expanding and hanging out together for many years.

And yet, even though I remember that period so vividly, it still seems like a fleeting moment that didn’t seem so long ago.

Similarly, in day-to-day life, really enjoyable events like an exceptional meal, a page-turner book or a movie that transports you completely, all seem to be over in a blink of an eye.
But why is it that certain life events or situations seem to drag at a snail’s pace?

Something as simple as bumper-to-bumper traffic, or a meeting with someone who sucks the oxygen out of the room can feel like it takes forever. Or waiting in queue for something when one is tired, hungry, feeling too hot or too cold, can feel like an eternity.

At my last house, a few years back, I had neighbours that, to put it nicely, tested the extent of my patience to the point of raising my anxiety level. If I recall correctly, they only lived there for a year and a half, but as when my stress levels were going through the roof, it felt like a lifetime.

But as time passes, that period seems to hold less prominence in my memory. I guess what they say is true that time does indeed heal wounds like that.

What I find amusing is that when I think back to my teens, to me, the high school years went by too fast while the university years dragged on. Why is that?

It’s not like we have different measurements of time for enjoyable events and the less enjoyable ones, but it is interesting how the mind records them and how memory stores and recalls them.

It’s like time is a bit of an elastic band… an enjoyable hour-long event seems short, while an arduous hour-long event can feel outrageously long. It’s bizarre.

The reality is that life is a combination of good times, challenging times, and everything in between. How our memory chooses to organize them is a mystery in itself.

Either way, I think the underlying message is that time is precious and we need to remind ourselves to be fully present.

In the face of adversity, we need to remain mindful that we aren’t alone, this too shall pass, and to bravely get through it. In the really good times, we need to appreciate them for all they are worth and to savour every moment.

Did you enjoy this post? If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox. Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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What Surprises Me Most After Four Years as a Blogger

Last year, I posted a blog entitled “The Ups and Downs of Blogging Statistics” in which I admitted to checking out my blog statistics and keeping an eye on trends, but not obsessing about them, given that this was “rehearsal” time for me.

Blogging was a building block for me to refine my writing creative skills in preparation for my aspirations as a creative writer. My blogging was for the fun of it, and you were more than welcome to join me along the way.

But four years into the blogging journey, there is one aspect that often surprises me: the posts that keep getting viewed weeks, months or even years after I have originally posted them, and getting fairly consistent views over the long term.

As a blogger, I don’t sit down and think to myself, “This post will get a thousand views”, it doesn’t work that way. And even after posting the link on Google, Twitter, Facebook, Flipboard and sometimes Pinterest, we are sometimes at the mercy of the algorithms for how much prominence (and page views) a post might get.

I have read a good number of articles on blog promotion, and I have definitely taken experts’ advice to try to maximize clicks whether through a well-chosen title, a sharp picture to accompany it, adherence to a consistent posting schedule, as well as seeking lessons learned by the most viewed posts. Continue reading

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A Half-Baked Post about the Importance of Halves

Do you remember those childhood days when adding “… and a half” to our age was of critical importance? I was watching a TV show recently where they interviewed a young star who was asked how old he was. When he added “…and a half” it took me back. Waaaay back!

I can’t remember exactly when I started, but I recall adding “… and a half” to my age since the beginning of the school years when fractions were first introduced. “What a great invention!” I thought.

When I place myself back in childhood, I remember always being one of the shortest kids in my group of friends and when grown-ups would be guessing my age, they were always on the younger side.

While I’d like to think I’ve acquired better social skills since then, at the time, I did not hesitate in correcting those crazy grown-ups by telling them exactly how old I was. It seemed like adding “…and a half” proved them even more wrong.

In my 20’s, as my career was just starting, those halves would still show up from time to time in response to how many years I had been in the work force or how many years I lived in that first apartment, but the halves started losing their importance and fading from vocabulary. Continue reading

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