Time Flies – How to Slow Down & Enjoy It

Is it just me or is time moving way too fast?! Yet another semester over and another begins. Gretchen Rubin famously wrote, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Every day has a monotonous undertone and this is due to the fact that I know my schedule like the back of my hand. I am unconsciously going about the week as it is a good schedule, but a familiar one. Maybe you can relate, but I am here to tell you there are ways to perceive time more slowly. We do not have to be time’s hostage in this life. We are human and we will use our humanity as a tool to deliberately manipulate time. Here are some easy tricks to assist you in your life if you feel time slipping by too briskly.

Appreciate the little things

It is no secret that as we grow older, we take things for granted. Our computers, phones, cars, home, and even friends and family. You cannot blame us either as it is due to hedonic adaptation: the phenomenon where humans have a tendency to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes. When you receive a new phone, it feels like the most ingenious device ever invented by man. Then after a month or two goes by, you are back to your “it’s just a phone” mindset. Could you imagine your life without a phone? This piece of metal and glass that connects you with most anyone and has all of the information published thus far in history, but you still throw it around to fidget with.

The point is, to welcome novelty into your life. Remember when you were a child and everything was mind blowing to you? Induce a little childlike wonder into your day-to-day. Darwin said, “Attention, if sudden and close, graduates into surprise; and this into astonishment; and this into stupefied amazement.” Take just about anything into your hands and really focus on it. Think about how much work has gone into making this thing, what it can do for you, and if it did not exist. You will quickly learn to be thankful for this object and see it differently every time you see it again. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way.

Plan for things

Do you remember the month of December as a child? Did it not feel like an eternity until winter holidays? Anxiously awaiting your gifts as you see presents begin to slowly appear under a tree in your living room. We can use the same principle as a tool in our lives. Plan for a trip or some event way in the future. Make it something you really want to do to be enthusiastic for it. Have a countdown timer that you can always refer to to shorten your patience. It is similar to if I asked you to close your eyes and not say anything. Then, tell me when you believe three minutes have passed. Minutes would drag on as when you focus on time, it slows down.

Don’t plan for other things

Planning a fun trip is a great way to slow time and have an adventure by the end of it, but how can I slow time down even more every day? Being spontaneous is an enjoyable tactic that you can perform with the free time you possess. Instead of binge watching Netflix shows, go for a walk or a bike ride in your area. If one sat down and watched shows all day versus taking a leisurely stroll through town, who would you say had a longer and more enriching time? It is important to shake up the routine often to be a more well-rounded person. When you feel yourself apart of your own familiar agenda with free time, this should be a cue to do something different. Go visit a new coffee shop and read a book or take a drive and bring along a coin to decide which way you turn. An added plus is when you are more spontaneous, you are going to be a better time to be around. We all like the person that flips the script when you are with them.

Learn a new hobby

Last time I ask you to think back to your childhood. Remember learning an instrument or practicing a sport? How long did it take you to learn cursive? Learning is a process and while it should be fun, it is also taxing on your mind. We can use this for our benefit to elongate the fourth dimension. Pick up a new skill be it drawing, gardening, cooking, photography, coding, or dancing. As a personal preference, it is good to pick a hobby that has a tangible result so the progress you make is clearly shown. This will make your motivation to stick with it more difficult to diminish. There is also no need to be hard on yourself with learning a new hobby. Remember that you are doing this to make your life more interesting and vivid.

There is an overarching theme throughout these tricks and that is to be mindful of yourself and anything not yourself. Taking in the world with a fresh pair of eyes can be the difference between a life of banality or a life of excitement. Living life to the fullest while we can, is the only fulfilling option we hold. Be grateful for our friends and family for being people we can trust and knowing that they trust us. To beat eternity is to stretch every moment into an eternity.

Why I Refuse To Sit In My Dorm Room

College is busy. But news flash—you knew that coming in.

Over the last 3 years I have made it my goal to be as involved and “busy” as possible—while of course still keeping up with my classes and grades. My friends look at it as a death sentence. They can’t figure out why I want to always be running around, shouldn’t I be studying?  But all arguments aside, I always came to the conclusion that the alternative was worse: Spending 4 years trapped, alone, in my dorm room.

Let’s play a game. Would you Rather?

Would you rather be busy, or be bored to tears?

Would you rather have a jam-packed schedule, or not enough to do?

And last one…

Would you rather have stories to tell (stressed ones, funny ones, crazy ones) or think back on your time and not remember anything but books?

Okay so these are extreme, but you get the point.

I go to a relatively small school, so it’s easier to get involved—maybe even more encouraged. However, I took them up on it and haven’t regretted it since. Sure some days are too busy and I can’t wait to drop everything and take a nap, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Everyone tells me they are “too busy”. I want to reply, “good! You should be!”, but always think twice. You should be busy in college, it comes with the territory, or at least it should.

In fact, I’ve watched my friends over the last 3 years do the exact opposite of me—try to stay uninvolved. I love them to death, but I think I made the winning choice. There are days when I don’t see them leave their rooms, or do more than just watch a new episode of the “must-see” TV show. While I agree that they have chosen the less stress-filled path, I think that when we graduate in May, they might be slightly disappointed at what they missed out on.

We all make choices in college, many of which shape who we are. It’s not mandatory to get involved; maybe studying really does take that long. But the way I see it is we have 4 years in college. Classes are most important and studying goes along with that, but what about the rest of the time? Once you graduate the tickets aren’t as cheap, the activities aren’t as readily available. The programs, movies, parties, and friend groups aren’t as easy to find.

Yes college is about the books, but it’s also about growing up and gaining experience—social experience as well as life experience, and a big part of that is learning to balance. College should be a balance of work and fun, books and friends, movies and food. It’s the whole package! Your classes may be the meat and bones of the experience—the thick of it, but the cherry on top of your 4 years is the friends, memories and stories you’ll be able to tell about the other stuff you did. Ramen in your dorm room can’t go in your scrapbook. Trust me.