Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Obligatory New Year Post.

So today, as I type, people around the world are celebrating the start of 2012 and as usual we have Google's customary New Year doodle!

Every time some event like the New Year comes up, I start thinking. It always feels as though the year that separates two New Years, Christmases, Valentine's Days or birthdays fly by at breakneck speed.

On my seventeenth birthday I was struck by how my sixteenth birthday felt like it happened only a few months ago. I wondered why time seems to go by really fast when now and why when I think back to the time I was in Kindergarten, the one year I spent there seems like an eternity. A few days ago I came across this really interesting Youtube video which gives a possible explanation for this illusion of time speeding up. Skip to 2:13 in the video to get right to the section I'm talking about but I think it's a good idea to watch the entire video as it's really quite interesting.

I think the theory is very likely correct because I've had a similar experience. When I was in Year 9 my family moved to Malaysia. So the thirteenth year of my life was filled with new experiences. I learnt a new language, I met new people, made new friends and saw new cultures and traditions. Now when I think back to Year 9 it really does seem like the year went on for a really long time. And I do seem to have richer memories of Year 9 than of any of the following years until I started my A-Levels. At the start of the A-Levels there was again a lot of new things to get used to, like completely new teachers, new classmates and a new syllabus. So the first three or four months of my A-Level course seemed to have lasted longer that the rest of the course.

So after all those observations I have something to add to the theory. I think what makes time seem to go by really fast is a routine. If there is a routine that I strictly follow every single day over time, my actions start to become automatic. Take the example of me brushing my teeth. I've been doing it for so long that I can now get up in the morning and brush my teeth even if I am half asleep. My body has built up some sort of muscle memory that puts the body on autopilot so that I don't have to think about brushing my teeth. In fact I often brush my teeth lost in thought only returning to reality when I have to find out what classes are scheduled for the day and pack the right books. So once you fall into a routine, you know exactly how the day is going to turn out and therefore there are no surprises or novel experiences in your life.

So at the start of this New Year, I leave you with this nugget. If you want to live your life feeling that you have squeezed as much as you can out of every single second, if you want to look back on your life and say "It's been a wonderful ride.", go out and do new and exciting things, throw your daily schedule in the fire and spice things up a bit. Learn something new everyday and savour every single moment of your life.

Happy New Year People!

Let's work together to make 2012 the best year we've ever had.