Yesterday, I turned 35.
That day, time seemed to pass by slower than during my normal days. And it wasn’t just because I was receiving lots of loving messages.
In fact, that day, most of my messages remained unread and unanswered.
Rather than spending the day online responding, I went out to become familiar with the world around me. I was especially interested in filling my birthday with first time experiences.
I traveled to a new city where I went to a new Canadian restaurant, a new coworking space, a never before visited museum of nature and science, and a local steakhouse.
At the end of my day, I laid in bed and watched a Netflix show… one I had also never seen before.
Exploring these new places made me feel in flow and more present. For one day, I seemed to stop the process of aging - lol not quite - but at least time seemed to pass by more slowly.
The science behind slowing down time
“Fewer new things occur as we age to remember, making it seem like childhood lasted longer.” - Neurologist and Neuroscientist Dr. Santosh Kesair
When we do the same things every day, we tend to not create many new memories. Although the benefits of routines are plentiful, new experiences aren’t one of them.
Routines can be used to help set up new experiences, which in fact seem to prolong our memory of time. In experiments looking at the perception of time, researchers Dinah Avni-Babad and Ilana Ritov tested the effects of new experiences.
They found that in non-routine situations, people remembered the duration of the event as being longer. It seems that when new information is introduced, our brains go through more processing.
Neuroscientist David Eagleman claims that new experiences take our brains longer to organize and synthesize, making them more memorable. For us, the result is that time appears to slow down.
“Time is this rubbery thing…it stretches out when you really turn your brain resources on” - Neuroscientist David Eagleman
Harnessing the magic of first moments is not only a great way to break monotony and slow down the perception of time, but also an excellent way to create more meaningful memories and staying untethered from our devices.