COLUMN: We can change our perception of time


Ethan Schobernd, Columnist

In recent years, I find myself saying phrases such as, “Boy time sure has flown by,” or, “I can’t believe it’s been a month already.”

Not only do I catch myself saying it, but I notice other people say similar expressions as well. This begs the question, is time speeding up, or is it just our own perception of time that has caused it to feel much faster? If I were a professional, I might be able to explain the concept of time and how it could be speeding up, but I will leave that for the professionals to point out.

Frankly, I think our psychological perception of time has changed as we have matured. As we age, our definitions of time and life are constantly changing and can take on different meanings. I don’t remember saying very many phrases concerning time when I was a child.

But as we get older, we see our elder counterparts become crippled and feeble with their accumulating age and we tend to hear similar phrases from our elders such as, “Life’s short kids, enjoy it while it lasts,” which has both positive and negative connotations.

For the optimist, it can be perceived as enjoying every moment of your life every day. On the contrary, a pessimist may interpret the elder’s message as life not lasting long and time is fleeting.

Of course, when every day of the week is completely booked with classes, work, activities, etc. it can be hard to slow down and breathe.

One week, people are prepping for their very first week of classes at school. Suddenly, graduation day has arrived. This is my way of saying we can change our perception of time depending on our overall outlook on life.

Try to avoid looking at the big picture too often. It is good to look ahead, but sometimes our conception of the future becomes glum and morose if we peer into the future for too long.

I often catch myself doing this and I become so enthralled with time, that it becomes a sour subject. Sometimes, it helps for me to be more attuned to the present instead.

I write in my daily planner every Sunday so I can plan my week by the hour, but I tend to avoid planning months ahead unless it is necessary. If I look too far ahead, I start to think, “Oh my gosh, it’s almost October, that’s insane!”

Living by a daily or weekly basis keeps me outside of the negative headspace that attempts to corrupt my perception of time. It can be far more beneficial for people to minimize the subject of time, as if it were a small part of our lives that only dictates when or where we need to do something, rather than it being a concept that completely rules our lives.

An elementary change to a more positive, smaller outlook on time can improve our perceptions and change our outlook on life.

Ethan Schobernd is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]