Is it because we no longer go go go? Is it because we are settled in our ways? Why do the days fly by with nothing to show for it? But doing the little things we do gives us some structure and maybe allow us to have brief moments of just being aware.
I took the cat to the vet and then we drove around town while I ran errands. This is not momentous. But for those few hours of being in the car with a tiny cat was very much in the moment time spent. I talk to her and she looks at me with resignation very much wanting to get home where it is safe. I understood where she was coming from. I tried to explain to her that it can be fun being out and about. She was not convinced. I did not really believe it either. So we went home and another day passed by.
These disappearing days add up until you find yourself saying “I can’t believe it is March.” Thomas Mann had a theory about time that I think is true. Have you ever noticed that a week on vacation feels like a month? His theory was that the routine of life, the sameness, compresses time–it goes by quickly because it is always the same. But that sameness also makes yesterday feel like last year. Can it really be that we celebrated Christmas three months ago? it feels like a year ago.
But when you go on vacation, routines are interrupted and things are new. Time then slows down because it has a new orientation. Sensations are different, what you see and hear is different. Your routine clock changes. I think he is right about this. It is the routine, or rut if I am being honest, that makes time fly. The only way to slow time is to open up to new things.