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My wonky perceptions of time.

Oh the joys of thinking I've posted something to LJ/DW and I find I never did. No, what I remember was writing a letter to Mom and Dad, and then tweeting about it. Reminds me of the time a few days ago when I was rudely awoken by what I thought was the doorbell, only to discover it was a dream/hallucination. (My doorbell does not sound a thing like what I dreamed/hallucinated.)

Anyway, so this post is going to be about my bizarre perceptions of time. I'll copy from the letter I sent Mom and Dad:
Sorry if I've forgotten to send birthday or whatever cards. I've been
learning a lot about myself lately, with all the extra time, and one
of the things I've learned is that I have a majorly weird sense of
time. I pretty much live naturally in the moment (not *for* the
moment, just *in* it), and apparently always have. The past is a
jumble of disordered memories I have to struggle to put into
chronological order, and there are more gaps than memories. From about
the age of 5 to somewhere in my early teens, I was lost so utterly in
my fantasy world that I remember very little of my childhood, and a
large percentage of things I think I remember from then turned out to
be reconstructed from things you two have told me. Looking at how my
brain continues to function, I'd say the reason is simple - reality
wasn't real to me, so I didn't bother remembering most of it. The
short-term memories just never became long-term in most cases. As to
why things I *do* remember are a jumbled-up mess, I have no answer for
yet. But I've remembered a LOT more since snapping out of living in
fantasy land all the time, and even that is a jumbled mess with lots
of missing pieces. A large portion of each day just seems to be deemed
irrelevant by my mind and promptly forgotten. Some days I have
difficulty remembering not just *what* I ate but IF I ate. About the
only reason I know I ate something sometimes is because my stomach
would be screaming bloody murder at me if I hadn't.

But back to the topic of my sense of time. It is majorly wacky, and
often appears to be entirely random. Sometimes hours can feel like
mere minutes; other times, minutes feel like hours. Days feel long
while I'm in one, but once it's "yesterday," things get really weird;
weeks feeling like a day or less, for example. I've come across
numerous times when someone would mention something, I'd be like, "Oh
yeah, you told me that yesterday," and nope: they told me about it
weeks or even months ago. But in my mind, it feels like yesterday. On
the other hand, sometimes a day or two in the past can feel like it
was months ago. Which is why I can totally understand and agree with
Conversations With God when it says linear time does not exist; I have
never experienced linear time, not really, and I can't even truly
understand it from a purely intellectual standpoint.

One of my myriad struggles in life has been adjusting to other
people's conceptions of time. Looking back, this was the cause of one
of my myriad issues with work. The interaction among my sense of time,
the temporal framework of employers, my brain being absurdly quick to
boredom, and being unable to meet all the requirements of an job no
matter how hard I tried due to massive social deficits and
difficulties with changing rules and the logic of the workplace, made
an 8-hour shift at work feel like a 14-hour shift, and made the
occasional 12 hour shifts feel like 24 hour shifts. If you had to work
a 14 hour shift every day for five days in a row, and occasionally had
to do 24 hour shifts, you'd be extremely cranky and exhausted, to say
the least.

But yeah... my sense of how much time has passed seems to go up the
more active my mind is. The more activity, the longer a minute feels
like. Earlier today, I was doing a whole bunch of stuff. When I looked
at the time, expecting it to be 9 PM, it was only 5. Three hours had
felt like seven. Now you consider that it took every available ounce
of my brain power and parallel processing capabilities to try to
convert my insane sense of time to the standard norm, process the
logic of commands, process social cues and body language to try to
figure out social things, and about a dozen other things just to get
through a standard work day, that's so much mental activity that no
WONDER 8 hours felt like 14.
I'm naturally inclined towards multitasking, but even I have my
limits. While I was working at a place in town called ACS, doing
customer service in the billing department, I experimented with this
multitasking ability of mine, adding new mental programs to help make
me faster. And it worked pretty well, usually. But... if you run too
many programs on a computer at the same time, the computer will freeze
and even crash. The human brain is a little more flexible than that,
so I didn't crash, but pushing the limits of my parallel processing
like that meant that every now and then, I would completely freeze up,
everything in my brain having become a tangled mess, and I'd have to
take up to a whole minute to untangle everything. And it made a 6 hour
workday feel like 12 or 13.

Now that I no longer have to try to shove my square peg into a round
hole anymore, I find my sense of time - now free from *having* to
adapt itself to the utterly alien time-sense of other people - is more
pronounced in its peculiarity. I can still keep track of what day it
is, and I generally keep myself to a regular sleep schedule, but what
little structure is there, is there because I know I need it. I impose
a sleep schedule on myself so I don't get into the old habits of going
to bed later and later, getting up later and later, until I have to
stay up for 24 hours to straighten myself out. And I know the days of
the week because I have social gatherings called "meetups" that I go
to, where I meet other pagans in the area... usually on a group basis,
but occasionally on an individual basis. Also, if I let myself, it
would be weeks between writing sessions, so I make it a point to sit
down and write at least once or twice a week.

Perhaps now you have a better understanding of why "I'll be there in a
minute!" always took so long for me. :-) Or maybe your eyes just
glazed over and you've no clue. Ah well. :-)
I have this to add: breaks at work felt about half as long as they really were, or less. And part of why my sleep schedule here works so well where the one while I was living with Lilla wasn't is, I think, due largely to the fact that my PC is not in my bedroom like it was back then.

Also, no response to my email yet. But I did send it before the weekend, and they no longer have Internet at home. Might be Monday before they even read it. And considering that the above was only *part* of its longness and rambliness, [exaggeration] it may take them a few days just to read it! [/exaggeration] :-D

Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org

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