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Expanding Subjective Time=Living Longer

I am reading Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer, and my nerdy self is loving it.  I don’t typically write about a book before I finish it, but yesterday, when I found this idea it just hit me as brilliant, life changing, glaringly obvious, and relating closely to intentional living.

The book is about the mind and memory and how to grow it, but beyond that, it is a story of how Josh Foer really trained his mind.  It is an easy and entertaining read along but still includes all the non-fiction scientific information. 

The physical length of a day, week or year is set and I have very little control over how much time I am given.  I can live healthy and not climb over safety railings in flip flops, but ultimately God has control of how long I live. 

What about psychological time?  How long I think I am living.   The reality of time in my head.  When I look back there isn’t a set length of a day, week or year.  Some seem to last forever and some seem to fly by. 

How do I make my life seem and feel longer?  How do I avoid that “where did all the time go” feeling?  The one theory is to make it as boring as possible so that time seems to only creep by, but it is the opposite that is true.   Time is about what we remember, our memories. 

Our lives are structured by our memories of events.  Event X happened just before the big Paris vacation.  I was doing Y in the first summer after I learned to drive.  Z happened the weekend after I landed my first job.  We remember events by positioning them in time relative to other events.  Just as we accumulate memories of facts by integrating them into a network, we accumulate life’s experiences by integrating them into a web of other chronological memories.  The denser the web, the denser the experience of time.  (Page 76)

He went on to discribe a experiment by Michel Siffre where he placed himself in a cave with no access to clock, calendar or sun.  His memory basically went away and his experience of time’s passage had compressed by a factor of two. 

What’s the point?

Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it.  You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one.  If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next–and disappear.  That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories.  Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives. (page 77)

I just loved how this fits into intentional living.  Get out of the cubicle, create your life, analyze your life, keep molding your life, stretch and grow yourself, live in full and loving relationships, change stuff up, have fun, take all the vacation days, and you will live a much longer psychological time based life.  And what we think, is our reality 🙂