“Where has all the time gone?” We’ve all asked that question before. Time marches on, but it seems to go faster and faster. Days turn into weeks, which turn into months, and before we know it, time has slipped away.
What makes time get away from us? Why does time seem to drag on in our youth, but slip away when we’re adults? Time slips away when we ignore the present because we’re anticipating the next thing in the future.
There’s a sad casualty to the modern mindset of productivity and efficiency: the present has lost its luster. Our attention is constantly drawn to what’s happening next: tomorrow’s schedules, next week’s appointments, or those projects due next month. There’s nothing wrong with planning for the future- in fact, being ready for the future is a desirable thing. But if our attention is constantly on the future, we never fully experience the present.
The key to slowing down time is to learn how to fully live in the present moment. Here are some suggestions.
1. Slow Down
The faster our pace of living, the more details of daily living that we will miss. Our brains are able to process only a finite amount of information at a time- that’s why it’s impossible to listen to several people talking at once. Slowing down involves consciously deciding to limit the input to your brain at any given time, like turning off the TV or phone and creating some empty space in your schedule.
2. Engage the person in front of you.
Our days are filled with various interactions and conversations with people, yet by evening the details and nuances of those interactions are forgotten. So often we miss a significant statement or a meaningful event because our minds are somewhere else.
Jesus was a master at this skill. His days were often hectic, yet the most important person to him was the person who was standing in front of him at any given time. If we would take time to engage and pay attention to individual people, we add details to our days, and time will slow down.
3. Learn to see the details
This is a case of not seeing the trees for the forest. The more details of life that you notice, the more you will live in the present. When you put your child to bed, notice the details. Watch them breathe. Hold their hand. Touch their hair.
As you are driving home from work, study the beauty of God’s creation. See the colors of the sky and grass. Watch the birds as they go about their business. Watch the wind blow through the trees. Take a mental picture of the details of life.
Is time slipping away from you? Do you feel like life is passing you by, and somehow you’re missing something important? Slow down. Live in the present. Create details of today. Tomorrow will get here fast enough.