Plenty of people end up stumbling upon the same horrifying realisation as they make their way through their 20s, and towards their 30s – namely, that with every year that passes by, time seems to accelerate at an exponential pace.
This isn’t just the kind of thing that you hear people moaning about every so often, either. There’s actually been research done that confirms that, on average, people really do have a generalised sense of time going faster, as they get older.
Luckily, there is at least one key thing that you can do to combat this onslaught, and to create the sensation of time slowing down again. And that is to focus on filling your life with more poignant moments.
You see, a major reason why time seems to accelerate as we get older, appears to be the fact that we typically fall into run-of-the-mill everyday routines past our early 20s or so, and that means that we end up “going through the motions” on autopilot a lot more. A consequence of this is that we form fewer distinct memories to look back on, and so the years seem to have flown by.
While you could look into photo booth hire in order to create visual evidence of how you’re spending your afternoons, just breaking the mould and making your life more of a novelty-packed adventure – as it probably was in your late teens and early 20s – can be a total game changer, regardless of whether or not anyone’s documenting your adventures.
So, here are a few tips for filling your life with more poignant moments, and making time go slower as a result.
Don’t just do the same thing every day – always be on the lookout for opportunities to break the mould, even in small way.
In the book, “The Power of Moments,” the basic process for forming striking and memorable “moments” is outlined – and, as you might expect, one of the first points mentioned is that such moments need to be “out of the ordinary” in some way if they are going to register.
Interestingly, you don’t actually need to be doing something totally life-changing or bizarre in order for a meaningful and memorable moments to develop. Even quite small and relatively innocuous exceptions to your everyday routine can have the desired impact. Although, of course, more dramatic and meaningful events do forge more outstanding moments.
If, like so many of us, your day is totally ruled by routine, and you rarely ever deviate from the “script”; look for even just a few micro ways of shaking things up.
Try driving a different route to work – or maybe try walking or cycling to work. How about eating something different for lunch, and eating it in a different location? Or spending your evening with all the electronic devices off, reading a book?
Try to do at least one thing a bit differently each day, in order to make your life a bit more memorable, and to cause time to “expand” for you.
Set yourself small goals, challenges, and targets, and try to cross items off your to-do lists on a regular basis
Setting yourself a major life goal may not exactly be all it’s cracked up to be. Scott Adams and James Clear have both had things to say about the benefits of being “systems-focused” rather than “goal-focused,” for example.
Part of the critique here is that being too fixated on massively-ambitious goals distracts you almost entirely from the present moment, and conditions you to live in a state of ongoing anxiety, marked by a sense of deprivation.
Small goals, challenges, and targets, with a short time horizon in mind, however, can do a lot of good.
If you’re planning your week out in advance – at least partly – then you should really make a point of coming up with to-do list items that are likely to result in the highest probability of a memorable moment.
That could mean, for example, identifying some day trip activity to do on the weekend, and then actually holding yourself to that plan.
It’s always easier to find and create memorable moments in theory, than it is in practice. Often, on a day-to-day basis, it’s necessary to nudge yourself along the way in order to ensure that you don’t just spend too much of your time chilling out on the sofa.
Seek to do things that you find meaningful, and not just things that you feel like you “should” do
There’s a lot to be said for the importance and value of duty – but there’s also a lot to be said for seeking out activities and pastimes according to how meaningful they seem to you.
When things seem meaningful to you, that’s generally a good sign that they have some innate worth, in relation to your own values and interests. Not only does this mean that pursuing “meaning” is perhaps the most fundamental way of “staying true to yourself,” but also that this is a great path to follow when you’re looking for ways to create peak memorable moments in your own life.
If you spend the bulk of your time every day doing things that you find fundamentally boring and meaningless, but that you feel like you “should” do, you should be very careful to at least squeeze a couple of deliberately meaningful pastime activities into your schedule in order to create some counterbalance.
Become willing to embrace discomfort in the pursuit of iconic moments
One of the most interesting points made in “The Power of Habits,” is that when we look back on our memories of the past, it’s the peak moments that stick in our mind – and rarely the irritation and discomfort that might have surrounded and accompanied our pursuit of those moments.
For example – on any given trip to Disneyland, a family is likely spend a good chunk of their time feeling irritated by long queues, being hungry, needing the toilet, and feeling overheated. But when they get home, all that will likely recede into nothingness, and it’ll be memories of Mickey Mouse that they carry with them.
In order to maximise the number of iconic moments in your life, you need to become willing to embrace a certain level of discomfort along the way.
So, next time you feel like maybe you should go out, but are “in a lazy mood,” you know what you should probably do.
Just remember that your day spent on the sofa is likely to be completely forgettable, and will probably end up feeling a lot like wasted time, in the near future. But a meaningful outing can create life-long memories.
Always be in pursuit of self-growth and self-development
One of the major elements of memorable and iconic moments, is that they often stand out for us because they seem to indicate that we have grown in some way, become better than we were before, or expanded our potential in one or more meaningful ways.
One of the best ways of securing more of these meaningful moments yourself, is to live your life in such a way as to always be in pursuit of self-growth and self-development.
If you’re too relaxed and content with where you are right now, there’s little incentive for you to push yourself out of your comfort zone and to do the kinds of things that will likely reward you with shining memories – and a slowed sense of time.
If, on the other hand, every day is a quest to learn more, become fitter, become better at running your own business, and any number of other things, then you will be primed to find and experience those peak moments on a routine basis.