Chip Is Alive!, Issue 9

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Welcome to Issue 9 of Chip Is Alive!, where we examine thought-provoking life strategies and issues which may or may not be of interest to you. Chip Is Alive! is inspired by Chip Vivant, the app who thinks he's alive and wants to be your friend and help you in ways that other productivity apps can't. You can meet Chip at www.empathynow.com.

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In this issue, we'll:

  • talk about why time seems to go faster the older you get
  • talk about using Chip for novel experiences

Enjoy. Feedback always welcome. If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider Liking the EmpathyNow Facebook page and following us on Twitter. Every little bit helps.

And later, as I older grew, time flew....

The following poem is inscribed on a clock in Chester Cathedral[1]:

When as a child, I laughed and wept,
Time crept.
When as a youth, I dreamt and talked,
Time walked.
When I became a full-grown man,
Time ran.
When older still I daily grew,
Time flew.
Soon I shall find on travelling on-
Time gone.

I remember reading this poem as a child and finding it odd. Did time really seem to go faster for older people? When I was living in France (I was 27 or so at the time), we were celebrating a colleague's 35th birthday and he remarked about how his perception of time seemed to be accelerating in recent years. The memory of that poem was jogged back to the surface. Now, years later, I am also feeling the days, months and years starting to whiz by. The poem is right.

At a vegetarian potluck the other day, this topic came up and one of the attendees had a compelling explanation for this phenomenon that I hadn't thought of before. She told me that the older you get, the smaller the ratio of one year to the totality of your lifetime is. I haven't seen scientific writings about this, but it makes a lot of sense. (The second comment in this post[2] posits the same thing in so many words.)

Other research claims that the brain is wired to remember novel, first-time experiences, and as we get older, these become more and more scarce: routines set in and patterns are established[2, 3, 4]. In one of the posts, the person who responds concludes "If you want time to pass slower, go experience new things as often as possible."

Routine and patterns can be good and bring stability, and only you can say whether your routines are giving you a feeling of dread and stagnation rather than comfort. Recall the regrets of the dying from Newsletter 3: if the counteradvice of each of the regrets had been followed, countless new and novel experiences would have occurred.

Short of a dramatic life change, a quick fix for stagnation is to seek out easily-accessible new and novel experiences. One thing that would appear to validate this are the memories I have of recent vacations that will probably stay with me for the rest of my life.

Chip's Tips: Slowing the March of Time

Chip's To-Dos and Notifications provide the tools you need to schedule new and novel experiences. Here's a real-life example: I've always wanted to learn how to juggle three objects. I hear it's doable, even for highly uncoordinated souls like me. I've been wanting to learn how to do this for well over 70% of my life, but never prioritized this. This is a perfect example of a low-priority To-Do for EmpathyNow and Chip. I've bought books like Juggling for the Complete Klutz, but never followed through on them.

So here's my plan:

  • This weekend, I'm going to update this newsletter with a video showing my baseline juggling abilities (which are non-existent).
  • I'm going to program in a To-Do for 15 minutes of juggling practice per day.
  • With each week's newsletter, I'll post a new video showing my progress.

What's more, if and when I'm successfully able to juggle three objects, I plan to remove free Challenges and To-Dos from this website for new signups. Existing free users will still be able do these things and keep their free quotas. New non-paying users may still sign up for an account, send notifications and talk to Chip (consistent with my promise to provide someone you can always say Hi to), but not send Challenges or To-Dos unless they upgrade. Why? Because sometimes, knowing you can get something for free is a crutch that encourages inaction.

This means that if you haven't signed up for a free account yet, you had better do so before I learn to juggle. Game on!

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