It’s About Time

And we hope you had the time of your life.

We’re hip to the cool (duh), so anytime we read, watch, or listen to something interesting or otherwise awesome, the first thing we want to do is share it with you (well, right after we tweet it, ‘gram it, go live on Facebook to talk about it, and then ‘gram it again… it’s a social media world and we’re just living in it, amirite?). So when we tuned in to the latest episode of the TED Radio Hour and had our minds totally blown, we wanted you to be among the first to hear all about it.

The episode is called Shifting Time, and it explores the way we relate to the greatest commodity in our lives (no, we’re not talking about fro yo). No matter how hard we try to streamline our schedules and leave space in our routines to stop and smell the roses, it seems like there’s simply never enough time to do the things we want and need to do. You know as well as we do that it often comes down to deciding between doing what you want to do and doing what you need to do — and that’s never a fun or empowering choice. What happened to “you can have it all?”

The reassuring news is that we’re not the only ones who struggle to make the most of our time. There are people out there much smarter than we are (hey, we’re self aware!) who are working hard to understand the meaning of time, in hopes that understanding it will make it easier for the rest of us to totally take control of it! The expert guests on this episode of TED Radio House included an app developer, a poet, a psychologist, a Stanford professor, and a theoretical physicist (see? they’re super smart). Here are a few of the especially fascinating insights they had to share about time:

  • Consistently capturing short bursts of memories is a great way to help you put together the pieces of what often feels like long chunks of forgotten time. Former advertising pro Ceasar Kuriyama developed app 1 Second Everyday to help others recreate his personal practice of curating videos based on daily one-second clips. By stitching together these visual records, Kuriyama believes he can help his users fill in their mental gaps and better capture the passage of time, which usually feels like it happens way too fast. Of his own experience, he says, “When I can revisit the past four years in 24 minutes, my understanding of time becomes far more finite than it’s ever been.”
  • 4 AM is the most magical time of all. OK, please don’t stop reading just because 4 AM is so early. We know it sounds crazy, but poet Rives has us convinced that the best things happen before dawn. He references the creatives who have sworn by working at this early hour, and provides a long list of important things that have happened at 4 AM in books and movies. Here at bulldog, we’re big believers in seizing the day with an early wake-up, but Rives has given us a brand new appreciation for how a super early start can totally transform how we use our time.
  • We don’t actually experience time differently as we get older. Everyone says that time flies the older you get, but Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert insists that it’s simply all relative. “There’s… just a whole hell of a lot more recording in the brain of an 86-year-old person,” he says. Our sense of time also changes over time, Gilbert says, because humans are convinced with every birthday that they have “arrived” at the person they’re supposed to be. Gilbert blames this phenomenon largely on the fact that we just don’t quite know how to understand time and “the present.”
  • We really do get happier as we get older. Laura Carstensen, a Stanford psychology professor who also runs the Center on Longevity on campus, has studied people over the course of a decade to learn more about how time impacts our mental state. Her conclusion? As we age, we experience more positive (and often more complicated) feelings. “The silver lining of getting older is that we’re relieved of the burden of the future,” she says. “And a whole lot of the concerns we have in life are about the future.” When Carstensen shares these findings with groups of young people, millennial audience members often ask her how they can age faster to get to that happier mindset sooner. We’re not quite ready to rush the aging process, but it definitely feels good to know there are benefits to racking up the years.

What do you think of these theories about time? Tell us on Facebook + Twitter!

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Featured image: Harry Sandhu/Unsplash; watch image: AJ Garcia/Unsplash


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