Does time move differently in different places?
I grew up in a small town – a peninsula isolated from mainland Vancouver, British Columbia by rugged territory and a 45 minute ride on the BC Ferries. There was a bakery in the shopping mall and on Friday nights the cashier would load extra goodies into your bag. Ernie’s Drive-In was the place to go to get your burger and fries, where your order was called out over an intercom when it was done. It was a majestic landscape nestled between rocky beaches on the Georgia Strait and the slopes of Mount Elphinstone. I remember salmon BBQs, days at the beach, and climbing trees with my cat Felix.
Time is different to children. But would my almost four-year-old daughter feel that life passed by differently if she was in a more rural setting than our current urban home? Sure. Maybe I romanticize this notion, but I feel that I would spend much more time outside if I was living in my picturesque hometown. And being outdoors does contribute to how we view the passage of time. There is a constant stimulation of the senses: the caw of crows and seaside seagulls, the wispy touch of a gentle wind, the smell of freshly cut cedar trees.
Couple this with the intrinsically different nature of Canadian culture and it surely must affect how one views the passage of time. It’s a sense of calm – the assuredness that even though you’re not the strongest kid on the international block, everyone likes you just the way you are. So even when I was living in the city, working all hours, partying, and going to school, I didn’t feel any sort of time crunch.
It’s a holistic equation – small town vs. city, Canada vs. USA, parent vs. non-parent, younger vs. older, employed vs. stay-at-home parenting, etc. Whatever way you slice it, all these factors are bound to influence the passage of time…or at least the perception of how time passes.