On Subjective Time Perception

June 14th, 2014


This text was fully written by humans.

  • I’ve realized that I have a problem with my perception of time, constantly thinking about its passage and feeling overwhelmed by it. This fear of time slipping away paralyzes me and limits me in life.
  • Despite objectively having a good social life and enjoying activities with colleagues, I have a subjective impression that I am falling behind in life compared to others my age. I try to convince myself to live life to the fullest and not compare myself, but it’s difficult to shake off these thoughts.
  • I’ve experienced the amazing atmosphere in the Netherlands during football games and have been pleasantly surprised by the compliments I received on my style in the club, which has made me curious to explore the Dutch taste further.

The Vicious Circle: On Subjective Time Perception and How It Makes My Life Harder.

Recently, due to seemingly unrelated things, I realized that I have a problem. Well, to console my friend who had some worries, I also started to think about the things that were bothering me. And I concluded that my perception of time was deeply disturbed. 

I mean, I think way too often about the passage of time, which of course only makes it worse. I burn so much time thinking about the time that I only have less and less time in my life. Every day, I think many times about the fact that I am now 28 years old, and about all the things I still have to do in my life and the time I have left for them. It’s a vicious circle. I struggle with this eerie feeling every day, sometimes for hours.

Somehow I haven’t perceived it as too much of a problem so far — perhaps because I have never talked about it with anyone else. But now I realized that this overwhelming fear of passing time paralyzes me, and certainly limits and blocks me in life.

On My Weird Relationship With Time — Despite Objectively, Things Are Getting Better.

I think one of the reasons why I feel like time is not my friend is because I get the false impression that “I have no proper life” in my youth. I work a lot and I feel like life is slipping through my fingers. 

I actually party more than I used to as an undergrad and when I was in a relationship. Grad school offers so many chances to go out with colleagues! But for some reason, I have a subjective impression that I am behind in life — maybe because I mostly party with coworkers, and for worse, many people my age are already married and have a slightly different life than me. 

For example, I started this weekend with drinks at five in the afternoon on Friday together with other doctoral students from the institute. Then, we all went to the city center to enjoy the historic win of the Dutch football team against the Spaniards during the Mundial. 5 to 1, what a score!

Today, namely on Saturday night, I’m going to my coworker’s wedding with the rest of my lab. Tomorrow, I’m going clubbing in Amsterdam, hoping that after all this, I will still wake up without a hangover on Monday morning. 

I also already have plans for the next weekend, just like for the weekend afterward… Quite a Dutch style of planning time, so to speak. I rarely had so much to do in my free time during my undergrad studies.

The Doubts.

Well, I try to convince myself that I live my life to the fullest and that I should not compare myself with others. It’s bloody hard to get rid of those thoughts about the passage of time after all… 

When you are alone, you can easily get the impression that you are standing still, you are not building anything, and therefore, that you are wasting your time. When in fact this time is spent on development and getting to know yourself better.

A Digression on Dutch Emotions and Taste.

Regarding the Dutch outbursts of joy during the football game, the atmosphere around football in this country is amazing. Especially what happens after the game. I am not used to celebrating the victories of my national football team, simply because the Polish team early wins. 

Well, I did not expect that right after the end of the game, techno would be played from the speakers and the whole laughing orange crowd would start dancing and jumping. And it turned into a public dance. Given that nobody but me was surprised, is pretty standard in this country. On such days, I love this country — that is, on days when I see some emotions in the Dutchmen. 

By the way, the Dutch taste is breathtaking. I rarely dance. But when I go somewhere, I dress in Polish style, which is pretty girlish. Yesterday I just went to a football match in a casual orange T-shirt, shorts and trekking shoes, simply because I did not expect that I would end up dancing, first at the match and then in the club. Frankly speaking, I was quite embarrassed by my looks.

To my great surprise, I collected a lot of compliments in the club as this complete blow. I don’t know what works more for the Dutch, the style of the clown, or the orange color, but I certainly need to explore this topic better!

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Please cite as:
Bielczyk, N. (June 14th, 2014) On Subjective Time Perception. Retrieved from: https://nataliabielczyk.com/on-subjective-time-perception/

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