Time Is On Your Side

1. Superbowl LIe

Long-suffering readers of the blog will know that I’m more than a little obsessed with time and how it works and how it’s expressed. If time is more elastic and less concrete than we imagine – and it is – then that would just about explain Sunday’s Superbowl LI.

"It's a collision sport. *Dancing* is a contact sport."
“It is committee meetings, called huddles, separated by outbursts of violence.”

And that diagram doesn’t incorporate an extended half-time show, overtime, etc. I assume the Superbowl is still going on, although Mrs Stroke Bloke seems happy about the current score. Oddly. I mean, who could root for a man who lies about eating strawberries?

In any event, I’m sure that the four-hour smashathon would have seemed more like eight to her if we’d watched it, and we’d still have switched off before it got exciting.

And not a cool one that would prevent handgun violence, either.
Sorry, Atlanta. But you’ve got Andre 3000. And they have to keep Brady.

2. Dillying and Dali-ing

A week and a half before the Superbowl I was sitting in a hospital waiting room – another experience in which time doesn’t flow, it oozes. How long would a Superbowl last, it you watched it in a hospital waiting room? Yeeeearrrrrssssss

25% = 3hrs. 20% = 3secs.
“How Your iPhone Battery Works” by Salvador Dalí

So, I picked up the copy of New Scientist that sat on the table in front of me. It was full of articles on the nature of time. One argued that it’s time physics recognised that time is real. Really? Is it that time already? What time is it? I looked at the date on the cover of the magazine: 17 April 2013. Time is weird. It didn’t seem like we’d been waiting there that long.

3. The Identity Bump

Talking of long-suffering readers of the blog, Paul shared an interesting article about time with me last week. It was called Why Time Slows Down When We’re Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation and it considered Claudia Hammond‘s Time Warp: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception.

RNC afterparty
“It’s just a jump to the right/And then a step to the right” – Timewarp 2017

It’s not too long, and it’s worth reading in it’s entirety. But here’s the takeaway for #stroke blog purposes – The phenomenon whereby time seems to speed up as we get older —  the proportionality theory – is not correctly explained by the mathematics that suggests a year feels faster when you’re 40 than when you’re 8 because it only constitutes one fortieth of your life rather than a whole eighth. Nor by the increasing speed of modern life.

The explanation for the phenomenon instead comes more clearly into focus when we consider the reminiscence bump, the other phenomenon whereby we vividly remember experiences we had between the ages of 15 and 25. Which is why your favourite album came out when you were seventeen.

Don't come back, guys. It'll be T2 all over again
Let’s call it this one this week, shall we?

Or Screamadellca or Blue Lines or Loveless or Bandwagonesque or Weld or The Real Ramona or Yerself Is Steam. But not Kill Uncle. Anyway

The key to the reminiscence bump is novelty. The reason we remember our youth so well is that it is a period where we have more new experiences than in our thirties or forties. It’s a time for firsts — first sexual relationships, first jobs, first travel without parents…. Novelty has such a strong impact on memory that even within the bump we remember more from the start of each new experience.

As Hammond’s theories are summarised by Brain Pickings, because memory and identity are so closely intertwined, it is in those formative years… that our memory latches onto particularly vivid details in order to use them later in reinforcing that identity. Then, people who undergo a major transformation of identity later in life — say, changing careers or coming out — tend to experience a second identity bump, which helps them reconcile and consolidate their new identity.

Suspect this next one might be a *real* identity bump
Scotsman says, “My identity’s changed, but I don’t feel any younger!”

So, I’m wondering if I should remarry every five years (to Mrs Stroke Bloke, obvs). Y’know, to slow down these remaining years and feel young. It certainly seems to be working at the moment. Learning new skills and trying new things and identities seems to be helping, too. Another reason for us old dogs to keep learning new tricks.

I mean, I’m very lucky in that my new identity as a stroke survivor probably plays into this sense of newness and youth. And I’ve certainly met other stroke survivors – who continue to cope with quite serious “deficits” who appear to have been able to use a turning point their lives to find new purpose and enthusiasms that keep them young-seeming.

Don’t think I’ll go for another one of those, though. See you next week!

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