My relationship to time is multi-dimensional. Time exists in the past as memories, and it exists in the future as plans. Time evokes emotion. Regret for what has not been done and fear for what might happen. Or perhaps, joy for what has been achieved and excitement for what lies ahead. Time ticks by at the same speed for everyone, yet our perception of time can change depending on our state of mind.
As a runner I measure my effort against time. A 1 hour run equates to a comfortable 11 km. That is approximately 5 minutes and 30 seconds per kilometre. Often, that hour of running feels like it passes in a flash. But on some days, it can be a drag and time feels like it is stuck in the mud. My perception of the passing of time is a function of how my body feels on that day. It is also a function of who I am running with. A solo run and a tired body are often a combination for “heavy legs”. On those days I clock watch and constantly think about how soon I will get to the end.
When my mind is engaged by being deeply immersed in conversation or a task that requires my full attention, I am unconscious about time. It passes without thought. On days when I run with a faster group my mind is concentrating on breathing and how my body feels. An hour run is a blur and seems to pass by as if I have travelled in a time machine. I pop out the other side wondering what happened. Where did time go?
I started a running journey on the 24th November 2018. Someone challenged me to run every day until Christmas. 30 days of running every day felt like quite an achievement. 228 km later Christmas rolled around, and I felt like I could keep going. Just another 30 days. It wasn’t long before I was wondering if I could do this for a year. While a year felt like such a long way to go, just 2 months before, 30 days felt like a long way to go. My mind had re-framed time. It had thought of another 10 months of running every day as the equivalent of the original 30-day challenge. As I type these words and reflect on the matter, the word “insane” comes to mind.
I am now less than 60 days away from achieving a milestone known to streak runners as the comma. Day 1,000. It feels significant to me. Then I look at the streak list on runeveryday.com and I see more than 2,000 active streak runners who have achieved this milestone. Suddenly, it feels less significant.
That is what time does, it stretches, and contracts based on our own perception. Comparing our use of time to another is futile. We all perceive time differently and its value is based on how each of us use it. Just because time is consistent in measurement does not mean it is consistent in use and or value.
Justin Spencer-Young @fastforwardjsy