Slow Down Life

14 Dec Slow Down Life

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As I write this blog post on a Sunday afternoon, still a little hung-over from a Christmas pub crawl yesterday, I realise on my little calendar/time bar on the right hand side of my screen (yes, I still haven’t conformed and bought a Mac just yet) that the date reads 14/12/2014.

Wow, what’s up with that, right? Mid-December already? Where the hell has this month gone? Or really, where has this entire year gone?

Despite me being away from this country for a good 100 days earlier in the year, and not performing “regular” tasks like working, training, and eating at pretty standard times of the day, I practically missed out on three months. The factoid that it’s indeed almost been three months since I returned is daunting enough taking into account that the year 2015, where we will finally get teleporters and hover cars, is not too far off.



Isn’t it weird how sometimes our lives just seem to flash past us and suddenly we’re 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 (!) years out of high school? Our lives suddenly consist of petty – but of course necessary – things like paying bills, grocery shopping, washing clothes, and going to bed early enough so that we’re not ruined the following day.

Go back to when we were teens that listened to Limp Bizkit and underage drank (sorry, mum), and most of us fought with our parents so that we could stay up just that little bit later to watch a 9:30pm TV show, or hangout a little longer on MSN and MySpace (ha, remember MySpace?).

These days however, everything is different. And how we perceive everything is being molded, changed, and shaped everyday by everything we do, think, feel, and experience.


our life perception

The picture above resembles this perfectly. As you can see, there are bigger gaps in our early years. These gaps represent how fast our lives seem to go. Starting out when we are zero years of age, that entire first year of our life represents a whole 100% of our entire life.

Level up to two years old, and that now becomes 50%. Our third year, makes it 33.33(recurring)%. So on and so forth until we arrive at 26 years of age, and each year in the past, is only a mere 3.8% of our lives. Weird.

Speaking of the past however, it is an interesting fact to know that it is actually impossible to live in the now, like so many wise philosopher’s like to say.

One for the shorties.

Now, I’m not strangely tall, nor am I strangely short. But I do sit comfortably at around 181cm. Though, is that even a good thing? The fact that a neural impulse travels at around 430km/hr, is something to think about.

Keep in mind that 430km/hr is roughly its fastest speed. Most impulses travel a lot slower. So, the taller we are, the longer these little neural impulses take to reach our brain. Making what happens to us, whether it be what we touch, see, and/or experience, essentially, in the past.

On average, if you like numbers, we in fact live around 80 milliseconds in the past. And the shorter we are, the more we in fact live in the now.




Perception revisited.

But going back to the ‘how we perceive life’ topic as you’ll recall us discussing from the paragraphs above this one; the younger we are, the longer our years seem to feel. Why is this?, you may ask.

Put simply, each year that we live, becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of our entire life overall. The more we grow up, everything that happens to us in our lives, becomes less new to us each time it happens. Which makes sense.

But think about it; when we start out on Earth as mini babies crying over wanting our nappy changed, everything we experience is brand new. The first time we see a dog, the first time we touch sand, the first time we taste broccoli: Everything is brand new and exciting.

Now, of course you can still get excited when you see types of dogs, every time you go to the beach (I know I’ll never get sick of it), or even when we eat those little tree-like vegetables, but everything we experience, that ends up becoming a repeat experience in life, creates the illusion in our brains of how long each experience now lasts.

For instance, when we listen to a song or watch a movie for the first time, it sometimes feels like it can go on forever. The more times we listen or watch it however, the more we get used to each part. The more we remember certain sections and words results in us feeling like we just need to keep hitting repeat on that song so that we can experience it like our first ever listen.





Events that are big and life changing to us feel like they go for a long time because our brain registers that it is important, and actually takes, what David Eagleman, a neuroscientist from the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas explains, ‘memory shots of the incident.’

He goes on to explain that ‘the more memory you have of an event, the longer you believe it took.’ For example, ‘frightening events, are associated with richer and denser memories.’ Which makes a lot of sense also. But what does this mean to you?


To me, if events that are new, important and life changing to us seem to slow our lives down, I want more of that shit. If events like the first time we walked, the first time we kissed someone, the first time we visited a new country; are events that cause our brain to be more aware of and save more “memory shots” about it, I want more of them.

If whenever we experience new things, our lives seem to slow down to savour the moment more, then the more people we meet, the more new things we do, the more experiences we have, the longer our lives can seem to go.

Time is quite expensive, and just living a life where we never break boundaries, test our limits, or try new things, the less – from our brains perception – time we have.

I want to leave you with a poem that I read in the book The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss recently (which, by the way, I highly recommend you check out).

Slow Dance
David L. Weatherford

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,
’cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn’t a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.

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Hayden Perno
Hayden Perno