Growing older has an interesting effect of compressing the passage time. When we are young, time feels like it passes more slowly because as children, we are just doing so much stuff. We have sports like tennis and soccer practice, extracurricular clubs like Model UN, and musical endeavors like orchestra and band camp. Every waking hour of our day is filled with some activity, whether it be school-related, hanging out with friends, or personal time expenditures like reading and videogaming. As a kid, you’re never bored; there’s always something to do.
Once you become an adult though, that entire universe of activity reduces down to only two spheres: Work and personal time expenditures. Now, to be fair, I don’t currently have kids so I have no idea what raising children is like. So I can’t speak to that. But I know as a childless adult, my days pass far more quickly than they ever did when I was younger. The chief reason for this is monotony. In school, especially elementary school, every day you attend class is an adventure. There’s something new to constantly learn. And once you get to high school and college, the year conveniently breaks down into semesters so your days then orbit around cramming for midterms, submitting projects, and completing problem sets. Your entire world is structured.
But then you graduate and start working and all of those natural time markers disappear. No more midterms and final exams. No more final group presentations to prepare for or regional competitions to strive towards. Adult life is simply one long haul. It just keeps going and going and going, and your days in the cubicle begin to blur together because they’re all similar.
One remedy against the inexorable march of time and inevitable decline is to create your own structure. You may no longer have Mrs. Henderson in AP US History giving you weekly reading assignments or Professor Donovan in sophomore English Lit telling you read pages 313-350 in Moby Dick this week but the good news is that this and age, with the internet, one can easily build your own curriculum. The world is literally your oyster and you can read and explore as much of it, on your own pace, as you wish. There’s never been a greater time to be alive for self-directed lifelong learners than today.
Another daily habit, that I really cannot emphasize enough, is journaling every day. Since starting this daily writing exercise back this past August, I have actually felt time slow down. I can look back on my blog and see what I wrote about last week or last month, and I’ll distinctly remember having done that. Writing every day is an easy way of breaking up the monotony of adult life. Go ahead and give it whirl; you may just surprise yourself.