Times are a-Changin’*

*Spoiler alert: this article is in development and will grow, shape-shift and hopefully mature in due course.

Getting this post started is doing my head in.

It’s one of those posts where you know you’ve got something worth writing about, but you’re not quite sure what it is. I don’t know if you get this too. I haven’t had one of these in a while. Lately (read: in the past year), I haven’t had any ideas for this blog at all.

Let me start at the beginning. A few days ago, I had what you might call a realisation. I realised that my perception of time has gradually but significantly changed as I am transitioning into adulthood. Specifically, what I would consider a long time as a child I would now consider no time at all.

To illustrate, if something takes three to four weeks to conclude, the child me would have said, “wow, that’s a really long time!”. But the present me, if something gets done in three to four weeks, would say, “it happened pretty quickly” with an assured smile that indicates I am proud of my ability to get that mysterious thing done in said time frame.

This realisation led me to wonder why. Why is it that as a child three weeks seem like a really long time, while as an adult it’s the opposite?

Theory one: adult things need more time to coordinate. Adult things often involve multiple adult people whose actions adult Val cannot dictate. And adult people are usually busy. So merely finding a mutually convenient time to speak and meet and get said adult people to go along with adult Val’s ideas itself can easily take several weeks.

Child things, however, tend to be easier to coordinate and execute. Most child things, I am positing, merely require the parent’s approval. “I want to eat ice cream”. Yes, you may. Take this money to buy it. No, you may not. Here’s no money for you. The fact that only approval from one party is required makes the process quicker – a one-step authorization process rather than multi-step influencing process.

Why though do child things require only parental authority to execute? I think it’s probably because as a child we want mostly simple things. We don’t want (in the immediate present) a new job, or a move to a different country. We want things like ice cream, a trip to the mall. Most things we want are a repetition of things we’ve had. This automatically excludes all complicated adult things like a new job or a promotion.

But clearly, I’m over-simplifying here. What about education? Arguably, as a child we want to pass exams and graduate – say from primary school – and that takes more than a few weeks the last time I checked. Unless something radical has happened to revolutionise children education while I wasn’t looking.

A way for me to argue away this objection could be that education is part of the compulsory process of growing up. It’s not something extra a child wants, like ice cream or a trip to the mall. Is a job also not part of the compulsory process of adulting? Agreed. Well, for most people who need to finance their sustenance at least. I guess those adult things I’m talking about are also extra’s – say a new job or a promotion at work. Something that doesn’t come as part of the process but must be wanted and worked toward.

So that’s theory one for you. Adult things take more time to coordinate and execute due to their complicated, multi-adult people-faceted nature. Hence, our perception of time as an adult changes: three weeks go from “that’s foreverrrrr” (imagine your parent told you to wait three weeks to get an ice cream) to “that’s a pretty short time” (a search for a new job that is concluded with a shiny new contract in three weeks).

Theory two: actually, there is no theory two. I feel the article needs one but I haven’t come up with it yet. Let me ruminate some more. This is, after all, an idea-in-progress.

My options now: a) save this post and, hopefully, come back to it later; b) save this post and, realistically, forget about it; c) publish it now and see what comments readers have.

Let’s go with c).

To be continued…

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