Monday, 19 January 2009

Another week over..

I swear time passes faster as I get older. It is really bizarre. I think the circadian section of the brain works by comparing each passing segment of time to the unit it knows as "life so far".

In other words, if you are a one year old baby, a week is a pretty long time as it is the equivalent of quite a high percentage of the time you've spent alive thus far. However, for an 80-year old, a week will pass as if it is hardly anything, because it's forms such a tiny fragment of that person's lifetime.

However, these are only my musings, and I am no philosopher, and don't I know it after reading all these papers on social constructionism and dualism and Cartesian thinking and Wittgenstein and post-structuralism for my courses. I feel desperately undereducated in this department. Should have gone to Oxford and done the classics, I guess. Though that probably wouldn't have helped much with the psychology.

But it really is bizarre how our perception of time depends on so many factors, such as the level of attention we pay to our surroundings, the delicate dance of neurotransmitters in our brains and, I am convinced as I said above, on how much time we've already spent alive.

My friend's grandfather died last week, at 97. He had Alzheimer's and apparently stopped eating before Christmas. Since his wife, who is also very frail, was no longer able to care for him at home in his increasing confusedness, he was placed in a home, which he strongly resented.

So this old man, he decided that he simply didn't want to live anymore, that he had seen all the days he wanted to see. I can't imagine ever feeling like that, that there is nothing more to be done. I can't imagine being 97, he has lived over three times longer than I have. I wish the day had more hours so I could cram in more of life in each one. But maybe by chasing life in this way, always wanting more, differently, I am setting myself up for disaster, I will never learn to stand still.

But after hearing the story of this old man, I think I would rather live a hundred years with this inner restlessness, than to have to endure two years of just wanting it all to be over because there is nothing more to see.

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