The National Fast Time

One of the benefits of a Starbucks account is that you get access to parts of paywalled websites like nytimes.com and wsj.com while you are in the store using Starbucks’ wifi connection. I chose to read a New York Times article while my wife and I sipped our drinks at “St. Arbucks” after Mass this morning.

Starbucks had changed a few things about their mobile site and the log-in process since the last time I used it. I actually enjoyed clicking around and learning the new steps. Coincidentally, my actions proved the point being made by the article I was reading: “Fast Time and the Aging Mind.”

Dr. Richard A. Friedman wrote that time seems to fly by when we are not learning new things. The perception of time speeding up is due to repetition of routine activities. When we look back, the learning we did in childhood seems to have taken more time than it did.

I especially related to a paragraph about Friedman’s elderly father who read dozens of different types of magazines after retiring. Friedman wrote that he “cannot recall his [father] ever having remarked on how fast or slow his life seemed to be going. He was constantly learning, always alive to new ideas and experience. Maybe that’s why he never seemed to notice that time was passing.”

It made sense to me. Each week seems the same length to me as any other week. The same goes for months and years. I never feel that Friday will never arrive nor am I surprised that a new month arrived so quickly. I assumed that people were just making conversation when they say things like, “can you believe it’s July already?” I answer, “yes.”

Like Friedman’s father, I enjoy new experiences.  Many of my attempts at learning are reflected in my blog. For example, I have been recently studying how to grow figs and how to judge barbeque. Given the choice, I would rather travel to someplace I’ve never visited. The thrill of new experiences is one of the reasons I love comedy improv. No two shows are ever the same.

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