Remember those halcyon days of youth? The days when a June afternoon could seem to last a lifetime? When summer vacation could go on forever – right up until, of course, those last angst-filled days when school rushed toward you?
Does time really speed up as you get older?
The Value of New Experiences
When we are young, just about everything we do is brand new. We experience a crush for the first time. We fall in love for the first time. We learn how to ride a bike, how to ski, how to drive a car, and a myriad of other things.
Our brain craves those types of new experiences. It actively pays attention while the learning process is going on. It knows that each of those new details could be quite important. It stays fully engaged.
As we age, though, we often fall into ruts. We do the same thing over and over again. We drive the same route to work. We wear the same fragrance. Heck, we wear the same clothes. Our brain just tunes the inputs out. It figures it needs to be ready in case something new and memorable comes along.
In the meantime, it coasts on autopilot. Days can easily blend together in a long medley.
Do Something Unexpected
The way to re-engage your brain is to give it something new to work with. Try some new music stations. Take a new route to work. Try some different foods. This isn’t about buy-buy-buy. You don’t have to acquire new items. Just shake up your routine and see how you can get a different angle on your life.
At the same time, stop taking things for granted. Don’t tune out on the drive because you know where you’re going. Energize yourself to look at the route with fresh eyes. Really examine the landscapes you pass. Think about the weather formations. The patterns of cars around you.
When you’re talking to people, don’t zone out assuming you know what they’re going to say or how you’re going to respond. Really listen. Engage and pay attention. You might be surprised at how much more rich and full the conversation becomes.
Step Out Of The Rut
So often, we start a certain pattern just out of chance. Maybe it seems like a good idea at the time. Before we know it, it’s the way we always do things. But is it really the only way? Is it really best to do the exact same thing over and over?
Explore. Investigate. Experiment. What happens if you try something new? What if you take a different route? Explore a different path? Sure, change can be challenging sometimes – but it can also open up new avenues you might never have considered.
Best of all, trying new things engages the brain. It forms new pathways. It keeps those neurons healthy, vibrant, and alive.
Add Time To Your Life
When we do new and interesting things, we add perceived time to our life. Every day becomes more full and rich. We develop richer memories. We add to our library of knowledge and experience. This library provides us with the examples we need when making decisions. The wider our range of experience, the better decisions we can make.
It also, in a very real sense, adds time to our overall existence. When we think back on the things we have done and seen, having a richer memory library fills out our sense of who we are. It helps us achieve our goals and dreams.
All it takes is a step down a new, untried path. An exploration of the unknown, to keep us in that young-mind state.