Thursday, August 19, 2010


A friend of mine recently told me how much more quickly time seems to be passing in his life. He wondered if I had noticed it too. I hadn’t really. I asked him what he was doing lately.

He said, “Nothing much, really. You know what it’s like. Different day, same sh(t. Week after week.”

“So what do you do to break things up a bit?” I asked.

“Nothing much,” he repeated. “Guess I’m just stuck in a rut.”

“Well, that’s your problem,” I said. “You know what they say, ‘Time flies when you’re stuck in a rut.’”

There is some science behind it. I remember reading something a few years ago, about people whose lives follow essentially the same routine day after day, have the mental effect of speeding up time for them. Their days wash into weeks. Their weeks melt into months. Before they know it, in the time it takes to yawn, years have passed. It least, that’s how it feels to them. And apparently, it gets even worse the older you grow, because the routines become, well, even more routine.

What’s the cure, you ask.

Okay, you really didn’t ask, did you? Because the answer is really obvious.

Change your routines whenever you can.

Always drive the same way to work? Try a different route or a different mode. Leave early. Stay late. Notice things on the way. Make a mental note to check them out on the weekend.

Always watch the same show every Tuesday night at 7:00? Record it and watch it on Wednesday at 9:12pm. Or save it until Saturday morning. Or better yet, skip watching it for a week. Then another week. Until your routine is different.

Always eat gruel for breakfast, a hard boiled egg for lunch, and a lettuce sandwich with stone soup for dinner? Hello?! Switch it up.

Think of routine like the monitor that measures time sequence for heart or brain activity. If nothing’s going on, it’s just a flatline.

If there’s activity, it shows the peaks and valleys of life. That’s the one you want.

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