The Time Stretch


Maybe what you experience about the motion of time is its reality. - CC phoyo by Leland Francisco

Maybe what you experience about the motion of time is its reality.
- CC photo by Leland Francisco

Sometimes weeks are just long aren’t they? And, I don’t mean normal average everyday long, like, ‘I can’t wait ’til it’s Friday’ long. I mean loooooooooooooooong. The long where you feel like you should be able to see the clock arm ticking away or the numbers move on your digital clock, but instead those numbers just bounce backwards and forward, not really getting anywhere at all. I most definitly had this kind of long week this week.

It didn’t help that I was bouncing around backwards and forwards too – maybe that has something to do with how I felt? Who knows? – from taking my mom to her many doctors appointments, to trying to get my work done in between and around said appointments. This, along with alternating between trying to be encouraging to my son in his last week of school, and being tear-out-my-hair exasperated with his seemingly laissez faire attitude – since he’s coming up on his senior year of high school next year, I’m thinking hair extensions may be in my future.

But, back to the time extension at hand. I know if I’ve felt that way, I know you probably have too, which makes us all in the same boat of timedness at one point or another. Why is it that time doesn’t seem to go slow in a laissez faire way of its own? It’s either hyper fast, or too slow in a not so great way. Then sometimes the things that make it seem like it’s going to slow turn into a blur in our memory, so that we know that we’ve had a horrendously long week – like me – but we don’t know quite know what we’ve done. This, in turn, gives the extra weird aspect to it all that if we can’t remember very much of it, then we should feel as though it’s gone by quickly. Oh, the whiplashedness of it all. It gives my brain a pang just thinking about it.

Although it makes my brain hurt more than a little to consider the speed of my own personal timeline, I find that thinking about time in general is somewhat fascinating. I’ve always thought of it as fluid, a bit of a construct really, by which we humans mark our time here. And, apparently it may not be as solid as the way we live our lives would have us believe.

If you believe the results of the Hafele-Keating experiment performed in 1971 then there’s room for more than a passing thought about time. During the experiment, clocks were taken on commercial airplanes, flown in opposite directions, then their times were compared to one another and clocks at their starting point. The clocks actually didn’t keep time the same way, even though if time is static and not fluid, they would have. This experiment always fascinates me for a variety of reasons This first reason is that in our we-can-control-anything-world, it really hammers home the point that we can’t. Not only that, but,  it may point to the fact that if your week seems really looooong, maybe it was, and if it seems really short, again, maybe it actually was. It could be if you felt that way, time either expanded or dilated for your own personal time line.

So, when you feel as though you’ve lost time, or that time was stretched beyond what you think it should have, just remember it may not have very much to do with you and how busy, or crazy or dull your life may be. It may be just a function of the time you’re in.



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