Think about the last 5 minutes. What did you do? How do those five minutes feel now?
Now think back to a period of your life that lasted years. School. Or an extended stay overseas. Or some time living in a place with someone (or multiple people). Or your multi-year stint at some job you didn’t like.
What’s the difference between the two? Does the ‘last 5 minute’ option feel about the same length of time as the ‘multi-year’ one?
If it does, that’s possibly because time – as in the temporal measurement scale of days, minutes, seconds etc. – has nothing to do with our biological existence.
If you ever hear someone say ‘wow… time flies…’ or in another way be completely shocked by the length of time that something went for, what they’re expressing is their expectation of how long they think time should go for. It’s not a calculation of how long a second or minute is. Which goes to show that time is relative and everyone experiences it differently, based on their expectation of it.
Yeah? And? Big whoop.
Yeah, actually it is a big whoop. Because although time moving forward is the only constant we experience, and we have a general biological clock that dictates roughly when we can no longer procreate, and when we could roughly expect to die, the minutes, hours, weeks of our lives are not biological, physical or natural markers at all. They are inventions of humanity, and are followed and stuck to with varying degrees by the same species (human people like you and me).
So placing expectations on your life that you should have done something by whenever, or saying ‘By 25/30/45/40/60/80, I want to (blah blah, insert whatever milestone here)….’ is just as arbitrary –in terms of our nature as humans– as saying ‘By the time 15 clamoozles get clamuggled internationally by all the skranks, I want to (blah blah, insert whatever milestone here)’. Language, like mathematical integers to measure time are purely inventions of people. They don’t dictate how to live your life.
For perspective on the time before you lived, after you live (and therefore the time during your life) go to 2:30 of this… (and for more on optimistic nihilism, go here).