Perceptions of time

It’s probably a good thing that we don’t consciously think about time all the time. If we thought about time and all the things that could happen within time, we’d spend our lives worrying over every little thing.

If we knew as children that time would go quickly, we’d worry that we’d have to deal with losing both our parents. No one analyses time, we know time exists and that time allows us to get on with our lives.

Time is an integral part of our daily lives. Whether we’re walking, driving, listening to music, taking part in a conversation, participating in a sport or just watching television, time is always there. Interestingly, whereas our senses of sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste use specialised sensory receptors, there is no specific receptor for our perception of time.

The brain’s perception of time involves processes linked to memory and attention. For example, time seems to pass more quickly when we’re busy, or doing something amusing or exciting, whereas in contrast the minutes seem to drag by when we’re bored.

Time is a precious commodity; we have time and yet we don’t have time. Time goes too quickly. We take time for granted that we will always have time on our side. We will all see time differently and will use our time differently. Time together with our experiences, changes a person.

One thing that will unite us and which I am sure most of us will agree, is that when we look back at our lives through time, we have very little comprehension of where time goes.


12 Apr, 2014

4 thoughts on “Perceptions of time

  1. Yes, where does time go? When I was a child, time just dragged by. I thought Christmas would never get here; a year was a long time.

    Now that I’m older, time just flies by. Christmas comes too fast and a year comes and goes. I think a lot of people wish their time away. Like “I wish the day we go… would hurry up and get here.” I try to live my life one day at a time and look at every new day as a new start.

    Time doesn’t heal wounds. It may make it’s memory lesser, but the wounds are still there in the back of our mind. Some days things just don’t seem real. Like the day my mom passed, just doesn’t seem like it was for real. I’m sure with time it will get better.

    The day I got married to Frank feels like it was yesterday but it has been almost 20 years ago and yet I can’t remember where all the time went.

    1. Thanks Lisa. Yes time goes and apart from looking back and knowing 20 years has gone, we have no recollection of the 20 years passing.

      Time for me as a child also dragged, particularly my school days, because I struggled. I believe the more we struggle, the more time drags. I understand your sentiments when you say time does not heal wounds. You’re probably not alone in your thinking. For me time works the opposite way. The more time passes, the more I understand why.

      We cannot change time and what happens around time, but if we’re able to change our perceptions of certain situations that happen through time, then I believe time will allow us to heal.

  2. Time definitely passes far too quickly, considering my body is 45 but my mind still thinks like a 12 year old.

    I consider that the time I really stopped growing was when I started partying. There were certain aspects of my personality I didn’t know how to deal with, so I tried to get rid of which didn’t work. I no longer cared about time because I didn’t really even want to be alive because of the way I felt about myself.

    It was the beginning of my periods of dissociation to the point where I was physically there but the mind was elsewhere. There were times that I vaguely remember what was happening around me, but it was like a nightmare where I felt like I couldn’t do anything about it.

    They call it a fugue state where you can actually disconnect with the real world. I think this happens to many people but they don’t all come back.

    I don’t discuss this with a lot of people since they hear that and start to think you have multiple personality disorders, which isn’t quite the case. I haven’t really registered time in a normal sense since I was probably 3 years old, after almost dying from pneumonia and not being very happy when I woke up!

    Looking back it was pretty sad, considering most 3 year olds don’t think about preferring to be dead. The worst part was having pretty close to a photographic memory, so it’s no wonder it was so hard for me to deal with things.

    Now time has finally slowed down in my life enough to where I can feel it passing in more of a normal fashion. My memory is spotty on a good day, which isn’t always a bad thing. It’s just kind of frustrating at times when I can remember what happened when I was 3, but can’t remember what I had for breakfast.

    I only have so much time left and I fear what comes next, but I’m going to try to make the best of it! My daughter needs me to be present in the current time period so it gives me a good reason to be here!

    1. Thanks Randy. Our minds tend to go back and remember the bad times, which almost seemed etched in our unconscious thoughts. When we’re going through hard times, our memories tend to go back to what we struggled with most and for you it’s what happened to you when you were 3 years old.

      I tend to use my hard times as a stepping stone to correct what I do now, so that I walk away from the bad memories. I’m not sure bad memories will ever been completely erased, but if we can begin to see, analyse and understand why those memories took place, we may in some small way be able to move on.

      Time together with a clearer and better understanding of our life and experiences also helps us move on. We have to let go and just let our minds be.

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