As I sit in sunny Santa Monica, watching the frigid cold NY Thanksgiving Day parade, I started to think about how Thanksgiving is the same time of the year, year after year. As my mind is wont to do, I then thought a bit about how I have conceived of time my entire life.
I have viewed "time" as incredibly linear and orderly: 60 seconds a minute, 60 minutes and hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. When I make plans to do something and fill in my calendar, it is always next Monday at 3:00pm or next January, or I will quit Wall Street on May 15th. When I look at past events, it is: Remember what we did last Christmas? Or, "That meeting was last Monday."
As I read more and more about other concepts of time, specifically non-linear time and Benjamin Whorf's assessment of the Hopi view of time, I began to think more about it and wonder if there are other ways that make, as much, if not more sense. After all, time really isn't a physical quality of any kind.
I went to this website: https://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html
I typed in my Birthday as a start date and today as an end date and the website spit this out:
From and including: Monday, July 2, 1973
To Thursday, November 22, 2018.
The result is that I have been alive 16,580 days. What if instead of looking at my Calendar and saying, I will do this next Thursday, a week from now, I said I will do this on my 16,587th day?
What if I say, I graduated West Point on my 8,391st day? Does that change my perception of time? Is it any less accurate than describing it any other way?
Does it make our lives feel any more fragile and worthy of gratitude?
Strangely, for this student of different applications of relativity, it seems to make my "time" on Earth feel more real.