Did you hear the one about the Julian calendar? How about the Gregorian calendar. You probably heard about the Mayan calendar, since they made a movie about it and its 2012 end of world predictions, and you may have heard about the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, first mentioned back in 2004, and the Berber calendar.
Of course you've heard of all these calendars. I read about them around every Easter and Christmas, as people point out that adjustments have been made to the calendar to align human activities with seasons, explaining to us when Santa was really born (July). We've had to drop days, part of days, a few minutes here and there, to keep everything in line with the celestial seasons, which, in turn was about growing stuff and business.
Calendars are about re-alignments. So are our resolutions in connection with starting a new year. New year invokes a lot of discussion besides resolutions, most of it associated with religions or new moons and lunar months. When we start talking about years, you can consider budget years, school years, and fiscal years as well as calendar years, along with the most famous of years, dog years.
Less famous are work years. I have personally tracked and monitored work years, that is the length of time worked versus the perception of time passing. Like dog years, a correlation can be established as a sliding scale, sort of like our calendars. Mondays' work hours are actually 1.1 hours long, as our Tuesdays. But on Wednesday and Thursday, work hours are 1.5 'normal' hours in length. Fridays vary, staring out as 1.5 hours, then slipping down to .90 hours, before expanding to 2.0 hours in the last two hours.
This all holds true unless you're in meetings. A meeting hour is actually equal to 3 normal hours, which is why a three hour meeting can make you feel like you've worked eight hours, unless you're affected by several factors that can affect how long a meeting minute takes. These factors include the bathroom factor, the PowerPoint factor, the accounting factor, the hunger factor and the stuffy air factor. Each of these will slow meeting minutes. I have experienced all of these simultaneous in a meeting, on a Friday afternoon. The meeting's third hour went on for three days.
Flying minutes can also be extremely long but are more difficult to track. Some flights, taking only five hours, seem like an eternity. That's because of what is known as the expectation variant. An expectation variant directly affects the ratio of real, perceived and physical time, throwing the whole thing into a big stew pot. Taxiing time in an aircraft has actually been broken down into seconds, whereas one second passed in normal time equals ten seconds as the aircraft taxis to the gate. Baggage moments, the time you're waiting for your baggage to come down the chute, can take almost as long. That's why more and more people are carrying their bags, so they can avoid baggage minutes.
Most school children are well familiar with both school time and the expectation variant. Many can tell you that time actually goes backward during some classes, such as physics, algrebra, and Silas Marner. Some children also experience Shakespeare minutes, during which they live and die several times without appreciating the Bard's words. Although christened Shakespeare minutes in honor of Sir William Shakespeare, many people seem to also experience Shakespeare minutes while reading Silas Marner out loud, discussing the gold standard in the United States, how to do your taxes or file your health benefits. I experience Shakespeare minutes while shopping with my wife while she suffers through them when she's waiting for a football game to end. Shoe minutes are the worse of the shopping minutes. Those of you with and without wives, girl friends and other shoe nuts, will understand.
Sports take time and seasons into another realm. The American pro football season, which now seems to last 2.5 years from training camp to the Super Bowl, has all sorts of gimmicks to screw with the minutes. Everything is timed from start to finish. I decided to work out on my Stairmaster for the last two minutes of the game, beginning at 2:04 minutes left on the clock, and ended up doing 21 minutes of exercise. If we used football's final two minutes in other ways, then, one minute is equal to about ten. A three day old child leaving the hospital would be 43,200 minutes old (((60 * 24) * 3) * 10), or 30 days old.
Over in the NBA, the season has become so long that the new season now starts before the playoffs.
Parents experience many minute variations, from those minutes being in labor, the minutes when a child is sick, and the minutes when children are away from them. Yet, in one of time's greatest paradoxes, while these minutes have slowed and taken up greater lengths of subjective time, the calendar years were quickened so that years seem like days. Many parents are heard to say, they grow up so fast.
There are agonizing minutes, too, those minutes when you're waiting to hear...to learn...of someone's life and death outcome. These are not so easily measured and defined, as people withdrawn into their memories and leave time behind.
My New Year's Eve was a great holiday, quiet, low key, nice weather. My wife stayed up until 10 on New Year's Eve. I stayed up until 12:30. Neither of us toasted the New Year and the minutes rushed by, unfettered by the expectation variant, or that nuisance factor that often affects time, the dread factor. That's when you realize that time is counting down, and no matter how much time is left, it's finite even as it goes on forever. I didn't do any more resolutions than I do on any other day, nor any less.
It was just another day.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com