We blink and a year has passed. We've all heard or found ourselves saying, "They grow up so fast," or "The years just flew by." Life seems to be speeding up and it just doesn't make any sense. How can one year feel faster than another?
One reason is that we are simply growing older and it's comparative to our age. When you are three-years-old, a year feels like a lifetime. That's because in comparison to your meager 36 months on the planet, that one year is a whole third of your life.
But a year in the life of a 30-year-old is one-thirtieth of their lifetime — a tinier, far less significant amount.
Then there is the reason known as the "done-it-all-before" syndrome. All your "firsts" are imprinted on your brain, creating a strong and clear memory. In childhood, there are constant firsts. But the older you get, the less memorable each event is.
By the time you hit 30 and above, New Years' celebrations and birthdays have lost their uniqueness. You've moved on from big celebrations each year, to celebrations every decade.
So it is true — each year does get faster. Is there a way to prevent this from happening? What can we do to slow down the fast pace of life?
Here are six ways to help you cheat the speed of life's ever-quickening pace:
1. Reclaim your mornings.
Wake. Work. Home. Repeat. Sound familiar? You need to take back some of the morning to yourself, even if it means getting up 15 minutes earlier. Give yourself those few extra minutes so you have time to actually sit with your morning drink and consider your day ahead. Use this time to do something for yourself. Read the news, do a short stretch, write your personal to-do list, relax for a moment and claim back this very important part of your day.
2. Take notice of where you are.
Life's like climbing a mountain, you're so concerned about where you are heading that sometimes you forget to stop and check the view. Stop worrying about the future and fretting about the past. Focus on where you are right now instead. Learn some simple mindful meditation techniques. Pause for a moment, slow your breathing and use all of your senses to contemplate everything around you. Devote a few minutes to this every day and it can help bring you to the now.
3. Create new experiences.
The world is full of opportunities to do something new. Why not give yourself a task? Do any of your friends or relatives have key birthdays coming up? Organize an event for them. Or challenge yourself to do something for charity — maybe a half marathon or Triathlon. Interested in cooking? Take a cooking class. Like reading? Swap books with friends.
The world really is your oyster (at any age!) and creating new experiences stop the days and weeks from merging into one.
4. Write in a journal.
Some of the smallest things can make a huge difference, like putting pen to paper. How many of us can name what we did every night last week, without having to painstakingly go through the week in our busy minds in order to bring it back? Simply taking the time to write in a journal forces you to stop and reflect, slowing down your day. Revisiting this occasionally will help strengthen the memories in your mind and help you feel that the months are in fact fuller and slower.
5. Make changes.
It can be something huge, like where you live, or it can be something tiny, like which way the sofa faces in your sitting room. You can change your route to work or change where you eat out on a weekend. Doing something different from your normal routine is far more impactful on the mind.
6. Enjoy seasonality.
Take time to notice the nuances of each season, the sprouting of leaves on the trees, the smell of freshly cut lawns or damp autumn leaves. Pause and appreciate the miracle of the seasons that are constantly ebbing and flowing around you. Learn to love the seasonality of your local food — visit your nearest farmers market. Use what's in season to cook something different while supporting local businesses.