Refusing to give up on new tricks

I am still a million miles away from being a good photographer of lightning but I refuse to follow the “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” adage.

So last night in the middle of a thunderstorm that rolled across the Tampa Bay area, I found myself kneeling in torrential rain on soaked grass, fighting off an incessant assault from vampire mosquitoes, who seemed determined to hamper my attempts. I can’t tell you how many good shots I missed because of being too slow, or the shutter not responding, or a million other reasons, but my level of exasperation with myself was really quite intense as I climbed back into the car and drove home with my tail between my legs. None of these shots are great (attached) but they serve to give me hope that if I persevere, perhaps one day I will be able to get something in focus.

But the whole experience did drive one important thought into my head that I wanted to take a moment and share.

I had recently studied some articles on why, as we get older, we notice how quickly time flies. Much of this feeling is actually down to how the brain processes experiences as we go through our daily routine. If the day is full of stuff that we have already done, or that we generally find unchallenging, then the brain switches into a somewhat passive mode and assigns little importance to the processing. So when we look back on a week or month of such days, our brains look at the events as having little relevance and therefore creates the feeling of time having gone by very quickly.

On the other end of the scale, young people generally encounter lots of new and learning experiences that they have not encountered before. So the brain stays fully engaged and even reprocesses them later in helping to sort and understand the experiences as they are committed to memory. So when looking back on the same period of time, the younger brain feels that time has indeed gone “slower”.

While we measure time in absolute terms of hours, days, years, etc … the feeling of passage of time is very subjective.

Therefore I would suggest that in order to not let time run away on us, it is very important to keep your brain engaged and never stop learning. Keep reaching for new experiences … even though the act of learning may indeed become more difficult or uncomfortable. It is easy to stay within your own comfort zone of your experience but frankly that isn’t good for you.

Me? I grab my camera and step out in the rain and chase the storms that make my skills feel amateur. And if or when I become good at it, I will try to learn something else that I know little about.

We have but one life and my intention is to live every minute until I finally drop dead of exhaustion.

I hope you manage to fill the coming week with some new experiences of your own and slow down the passage of time as you fill your mind with new memories.

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