I received this from my mom’s cousin in Brazil. It was and article in Portuguese from a newspaper. I enjoyed it so much that I took the time to translate and share it. Again, a lot of truth in it. It sure changed my behavior and I am making my brain work more, less repeats – more new things!

The Mind Erases Duplicate Entries
Airton Luiz Mendonca
(Article from the Newspaper “O Estado De Sao Paulo”

The human brain measures time by observation of movement. If you were to be found in an empty white room, without any furniture, doors or windows, without a clock…you would start to lose track of time.

For a few days, your mind will keep track of time by internal reactions of your body, such as your heart beat, sleeping cycle, hunger, thirst and blood pressure. This happens because our notion of time derives from movements of objects, people, nature, happenings and repetition of cycles, like sunrises and sunsets.

With that understood there is something else to be considered: our brain is extremely optimized. It avoids doing the job twice. An average adult has about 40 to 60 thousand thoughts a day. Anyone of us would go crazy if the brain had to consciously process that number of thoughts. That is why the majority of these thoughts are automatic and they don’t show up in the daily tasks. When you live an experience for the first time, the brain uses lots of resources to comprehend what is happening. That is when you feel more alive. As the same experience is repeated, it simply will categorize your reactions in the auto-mode and deletes the experiences that are duplicates.

If you understood theses two things, you will understand why it seems that time goes by faster when we get older and why Christmas comes faster than the one before. When we start to drive cars, everything is very complicated, it seems like our full attention is required the whole time. Then, one day we drive shifting gears, looking at stop lights, reading traffic signs, and even talking on the phone, all at the same time. How did that happen?
Simple: the brain already knows what is written on the signs (you don’t read with eyes, but with the previous image in the mind); the brain already knows the gear to change to (it simply takes your past experiences and uses, instead of repeating the experience). In other words, you didn’t live that experience, at least to the mind. Those critical seconds of gear shifting, reading signs are erased from your notion of time.

When you start to repeat exactly the same thing, the mind erases the repeated experience. As we get older, things start repeating itself – same streets, people, problems, challenges, TV shows, complaints…At last…the new experiences (the ones that make the mind stop and really think, making it seem like your day seems to be long and filled with new things), get to be less and less. Until so many things are repetitious that it becomes difficult to say what is new in the week, year or for some people, in a decade. In other words, what makes time seems like it is going faster is…ROUTINE. The routine is essential to life and optimize a lot of things, but the majority of people love routine so much, that along the way, their journal becomes a book of only one chapter, repeated every year.

Thank heavens there is an antidote to acceleration of time: Change and Register. Change by doing something different and Register it by doing a ritual, a party or with pictures. Change the view, go on vacation with the family (I suggest that you go frequently on vacation and preferably to a warm place one year and a cold one in the next) and register with pictures, post cards and letters. Have children (they destroy routine) and always do birthday parties for them and you (registering the event by making the day different).
Take advantage of the rituals to make special moments different from the usual moments. Do engagement parties, weddings, sweet 15 (here, sweet 16), this or that, send away parties, be a part of the class reunions, visit distant family members, go back to school at 60 years old, change your hair color, grow a beard, shave a beard, buy different Christmas decorations, go to movies, cook a different recipe from a new recipe book. Choose different clothing, don’t paint the house the same color, do different. Kiss your lover different and live different moments with him/her. Go to different stores, read different books, look for different experiences. Be different.

If you have money, especially if you are already retired, go with your spouse or friends to other cities or countries, see other cultures, go to strange museums, experience weird foods…in other words…L I V E!
Because if you live the ‘differents’ intensely, time will seem like it is taking longer to pass. And if you are lucky enough to be married to someone willing to live and seek different things, your journal will be a lot longer, a lot more interesting and much more alive than the existing ones that you can find lying around. Encircle yourself with friends. Friends with different tastes, from different places, with different religions and that like different foods. At last, I think you got the message, right?
Good luck in your experiences in expanding your time, with quality, emotion, rituals and life.
W RIT E iN dIFFerEnt sIzEs anD CoLOrS.