Have You Ever Experienced Split-Second-Aging?

Yesterday, I got my feeling of split-second-aging.

While I was riding on the subway, for no particular reason, I felt some odometer click over, and I became older. I felt it happen. I crossed some invisible border, and now some things seem closer and clearer and more important, and other things, further away.

I’ve had this feeling of unexpected split-second-aging before, and I’ve also failed to feel it, when I expected to feel it. The night I got married, for example, I remember saying to my husband of a few hours, “I thought I’d feel different, but I feel the same. Do you feel different?” He didn’t feel any different, either.

Having a baby, too. I felt a huge range of new emotions and concerns, but I didn’t feel any older or more mature. Same old me.

But I remember feeling split-second-aging when my husband had knee surgery. I was sitting in the waiting room with my mother-in-law and father-in-law, waiting for him to regain consciousness, when the doctor came in to give us the update. (Never have I felt such love for my father-in-law as when he said, nicely but sternly, “Doctor, we want to manage this situation for no pain.”) It wasn’t a dangerous operation, but suddenly I knew that I’d leave that hospital a lot older than I’d come in.

But sometimes split-second-aging feels good. Several years ago, my mother, sister, and I organized a surprise party for my father in my apartment, and the oversized flower arrangement made a big impression on my four-year-old. When a babysitter arrived to watch her while the party was going on, I overheard my daughter explain in a soft voice, “My mommy is having a flower party.”

Suddenly, I felt like the the omnipotent Mommy of my own childhood, or Mrs. Dalloway. I felt grown-up in a way I never had before -- in a pleasing way.

The passage of time is one of the great currents of life that affect happiness. Split-second-aging isn’t a happy feeling or an unhappy feeling, but it is a weighty feeling.

Do you know what I’m talking about? Am I the only one who has experienced split-second-aging?

* I can’t get over how nice people are being about my forthcoming book – Karl over at the great blog Work Happy Now! wrote an incredibly generous post.

* Speaking of people being helpful and nice, if you’d like to volunteer to help me from time to time with The Happiness Project, you can sign up here. Super-Fans, THANKS again for all your help.

icon emailNewsletterLight

One Last Thing

Interested in happiness, habits, and human nature?

Sign up to get my free weekly newsletter. I share ideas for being happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.

icon schooled

Find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or a Rebel.

The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t actOur Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding your Tendency lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.

Take the quiz

Get My Weekly Newsletter

Sign up to get my free weekly newsletter. It highlights the best material from here, my Facebook Page, and new original work.