When you’re a kid you can’t wait to be an adult and when you’re an adult you wish you could go back to being a kid. As you’re growing up, and in every stage of life, you here it again and again ‘don’t wish for it to go by too fast.’ For awhile that stays untrue as you hope to reach adulthood and wanting more freedom.

My last year of college I decided I was gonna buckle down and go full steam ahead on school and work to finish it off while still saving up for my loans. I’d sacrifice that year for most of the fun I could have and then I’d be free to enjoy my hard work. The truth is that freedom doesn’t come. There’s always something else to focus on, to prepare for, the next level of work you have to put in.

That freedom never comes so eventually it clicks that time really can fly by. One of the theories on why we perceive time to go faster is because of the information we take in. When we’re young we take in so much new information and it takes longer to process so time seems to move slower. All those new experiences burn in to our brain and are kept more vividly and so the passage of time seems slower.

The brain is always trying to get to auto-pilot. When it can do that then it can go to focusing on other things and become more efficient. Ever drive somewhere or go for a walk only to get there and realize you have no idea where the time went and how you got there? Your brain puts those tasks on auto-pilot so you can focus on more pressing or complicated things.

What if the reason times goes faster is because with the more age we collect the less childhood enthusiasm leaves us and we start to locked more and more in to a common everyday patter? Maybe with more responsibilities, like jobs or school, and our brain starts to move all those things to auto-pilot. Soon months, years go by and you have no recollection of how it could have gone so fast minus some scattered memories here and there.

With the Fourth of July next week on Thursday there’s the possibility of a long weekend. At work all the responsibilities have to be covered so the discussion is had about who possibly has to skip the holiday to work. Someone was gonna have to go back to work and go right back in to auto-pilot and skip that time. For me it was never an option. Any time I can travel, go do something I’m always going to take.

Maybe going on auto-pilot is inevitable because there will always be those ruts or just a stretch of life you want to tune out, but fight to make sure it’s not all that way. The regrets in life aren’t the things we do in fail, because we tried and found the outcome, but what we never do. We look back and wonder at what we passed on, what we didn’t try. That’s the auto pilot because not getting those new memories doesn’t put the brakes on and slow you down to remember it.

It may be a cliché but life is to short not to stop and smell the roses every once in awhile. One of our great delusions that once you finish a task you’ll have time to relax and enjoy it, but that break never comes. There’s always going to be the next thing to focus on so remember that as you get older. Make time for those new experiences and memories to pull your mind out of auto pilot and slow things down.