I have now been on my own time for about 2.5 months and frankly it feels like a lifetime. As far as I remember, during the time when I was still working a normal job, every day looked like every other day and days just moved steadily along and before you knew it, another month was gone.

Conversely, I have had times of my life, mostly associated with intense studying, where all neurons were firing. I remember which songs I listened to, when I was sleeping, what I was learning, and even what I was eating.

It is interesting how the mind works in compressed time. A clock just ticks along but for humans, time sometimes passes quickly and other times it does not move at all. I hate to use an overly abused concept, but time is relative. If the brain is fired up, it beats faster than the clock, and so time does not move. If the brain does not beat, time moves fast.

Here I’m not talking about the instantaneous feeling of time. Frequently when we are really engaged the sensation of time vanishes, whereas if we are bored, the seconds seem to drag on forever. However, in retrospect in the former case, we remember everything, whereas the bored time seems to be lost.

As a fun exercise, try to think back. Which were the periods, where you remember the most? Those were the periods where you really lived.

Now, do you remember a lot about your life? In particular, do you remember a lot about your work? Which periods in your life do you remember with the greatest clarity?

The periods that are most vivid is probably what you ought to be doing with your life if you want to say that you are really living.

Originally posted 2009-06-18 01:12:16.