Tuesday, June 6, 2023


Why my clock is my enemy

By Chuck Woodbury

There are times I want to break my clock. It just keeps ticking and ticking and ticking, always reminding me of passing time. The problem is that time keeps going faster and faster. It’s unfair. It should be the other way around: Time should go slower as we age so we can enjoy ourselves more in the waning years of our earthly existence.

Kids want to grow up fast, but time to them drags. It’s an eternity between Monday and Friday. For older people, there is only Monday and Friday — no Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. It’s Monday, then Friday. For me, there is only one weekday that is in any way remarkable. It happens only when I am home. It’s Thursday. That’s Garbage Day, when I must move the garbage, recycling and yard waste to the curb for disposal. One of the really good things about being on the road is no Garbage Day.

When you’re a kid, Christmas comes once a long year. When you are older, it seems as if Santa is always at the mall. And birthdays, it’s an eternity between them when you’re a kid. When you’re older, you barely finish one cake and it’s time for another.

My days, when I am not traveling, are like this: Get out of bed, take a shower, shave, eat oatmeal, drink coffee for awhile, read my email, write for awhile, read or watch Netflix after dinner, go to bed, get up again, take another shower. To be honest, I sometimes feel like I am always in the shower.

The only proven way I have found to slow the passage of time is to sit in a dentist’s chair.

Chuck Woodbury is the founder and publisher of RVtravel.com who has written millions of words in his lifetime in periodicals throughout the world.

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodburyhttps://rvtravel.com
I'm the founder and publisher of RVtravel.com. I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.


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Dave Williams
1 year ago

Haha! Your punchline made me laugh out loud. Another lovely view of life from Everyman.

Ray D.
1 year ago

Hey Chuck I’m with ya we’re all in this together, (quote from the Red Green show).

1 year ago

Chuck, I am right there with you on almost every point. And here I thot I was the only one that seemed to be in a time warp. As to being in the shower all the time, being retired, and especially with COVID, I don’t leave the house all that often, so no need for a shower every day. Maybe that has changed that time thing a bit. But recently taking out the garbage has really screwed me up. It has always been twice a week – Monday: garbage and recycle, Thursday: garbage and yard waste. They have just gone to THREE days a week, and don’t ask me what the schedule is, as I have not yet memorized it. My Gosh, I am continually hauling something to the curb, with there only being M, F, S, & S in the week to start with! What sadist decided to screw me up so late in my life? And to think, of all things, that it would be taking out the trash, that has shortened my life!

1 year ago

There is clearly no “right” answer to the subjective perception of time, but I strongly suspect it’s the same effect as (good) programmers encounter in software design or biologists see in nature: complexity costs speed. As an infant, your entire “processing loop” is “Hungry? Pooping? Tired? Repeat…” By middle age, our processing loop is considering thousands of things each “cycle” and therefore takes longer. Your brain interprets time as how many loops elapsed and therefore an hour/day/month/year take only 1/100th of the infant-loops. If you prefer, you can think of our brains get slower to return answers in favor of precision answers. Kids can break 100 things in the time it takes the adult to fix one because of equal efforts. So, there’s my theory.

Adorable Deplorable
1 year ago

Yes, this is retired life. I like it because i sit on my lanai and enjoy watching the wildlife. Time neither goes fast or slow but the sun moves. 😉

Bob p
1 year ago

I will differ with you, the sun is stationary, the earth revolves around the sun. We are moving.

ln em
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

bob, does p stand for pedantic?😜

Norman E.
1 year ago

In my opinion the line “The only proven way I have found to slow the passage of time is to sit in a dentist’s chair.” should read “The only proven way I have found to slow the passage of time is to sit in a dentist’s waiting room chair.”

1 year ago

I just enjoyed the time it took to read your article. We miss you. Thanks.

Neal Davis
1 year ago

We also have a daily routine when we are not traveling. The best part of our routine is walking our dog each morning and seeing the improvements in the appearance of the farm that we have accomplished, especially the most recently achieved ones. The downside is that we always see numerous things that still need doing; some of which only became apparent following a recent improvement. Traveling has its own routines, but they account for less of each day. The morning and afternoon walks and taking the dog out one last time each night are routines that account for as much as 2 hours, leaving lots of non-routine things. Yes, time seems to move faster now that I am in my mid-60s, but filling the time mostly as I choose creates a nice trade-off that my younger years (especially post-college) often seemed to lack.

1 year ago

Well, at 85 I must really be having fun – if it is true “…time flies when you’re having fun”. I don’t feel like I am having a lot of fun everyday – and I often wonder how I ever managed my life of 12-14 hr. work days and still had time to do some fun things. I seem to have a hard time getting in fun things now that I should have time! I guess, unbeknownst to me, I must work slower or have too many re-do’s because the days are too short! You hit the nail on the head Chuck! (PS: If you are traveling on Thursday, no garbage – you lost another day of the week!) Ha. Take care, hope to meet you on the road……. Stay safe

Wayne Caldwell
1 year ago

Time flies like arrows.
Fruit flies like bananas.

Ray Zimmermann
1 year ago

Life is like a roll of toilet paper – the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.

Wes Gibson
1 year ago

I read an article before I took up the full-time RV lifestyle that basically said every time we have a new experience, it is recorded in the brain with a time stamp. In our younger years, we have a lot of these timestamps which makes time seem longer. As we age, there is less learning and fewer new experiences, so fewer time stamps and time appears to go faster. So, if you want to slow time down, continue learning new things, take on new challenges, and have more experiences. I would think we in the RV community should be experiencing time slower than someone who spends their golden years parked in front of a TV. Here’s a link to that article. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-time-seem-to-speed-up-with-age/

Last edited 1 year ago by Wes Gibson
Bob p
1 year ago

Chuck it’s not your imagination, I recently read the earth is actually increasing it’s rotational speed and scientist at the National Time in Ft.Collins, CO have had to reset the atomic clock several times over recent years by a few seconds each time. So time is flying by so to speak. I do empathize with you, at 78 I don’t know how I ever managed to work 60-70 hrs per week and get everything done. I don’t have that many free hrs anymore. Lol

1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

That’s new to me. I understand time (and space) is warped by mass. As a result, space is warped and time is slowed, more and more, the closer you are to a large body such as the earth. This has been proven using atomic clocks. The recalibration of atomic clocks you speak of is likely to keep those clocks on earth and those in satellites well above the earth coordinated.

1 year ago
Reply to  Ray

Wait… are you saying the closer we are to a dirt nap (earth), the slower we think…? 😀

…but yes, GPS battles relativity all the time, since GPS (GNSS) are in fact just orbiting atomic clocks and receiver triangulation — the perfect demonstration of this effect. But don’t worry, we discipline those clocks to (currently) centimeter accuracy if you’re allowed to use it. 😀

1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

Oh no… now you stepped on my expertise… *Must… resist…nerd…answer…* Can’t do it…!

1) We do not reset the atomic clocks at all. We apply an offset. We only apply a “leap second” (that’s what it’s called) one at a time, although slightly irregularly. TAI (International Atomic Time) has not wavered, while UTC has had 37 leap seconds added — so there’s a 37 second difference between them right now.

2) WHY? The exact reverse of what Bob here said — Time used to be determined by “a year is one trip around the sun, now divide into days/hours/mins/seconds….”… and the Earth is changing speed rotationally and orbitally, making that a terrible way to do precise time. I work with nanoseconds, and we’ve drifted 37 seconds in a couple decades?!?!? So, rather than using the planet’s motion for time (the kings foot or arm for length? A horse butt for train rails?…) we now count vibrations of a Rubidium atom’s electron, or Cesium (much better), or Maser (best)…

Last edited 1 year ago by Wolfe
1 year ago

Actually time is a constant not a variable. It is our perception of time that varies as we age. For a one year old, one year is their entire life experience. At two, it is one half of their total experience – statistically significant. At fifty, a year is only a small portion of one’s existence and at 100 we’re close to insignificant digits (although don’t tell them they’re insignificant). Conversely, a minute could be considered a relatively short period of time – unless you’re holding your breath. Happy trails Chuck. – Dave Miner

Mike Hancock
1 year ago
Reply to  DMiner54

For us driving around in an RV time is a constant. Of course, if a motorhome had a flux capacitor, time gets a bit weird. 🙂

1 year ago

It’s not going to help, Chuck. But I’ve figured out why this is.
Our minds perceive time as a fraction of the entire time we have been alive. When you’re a 10 year old, for instance, a year is 10% of your entire existence and so seems like a VERY long time. When you’re 80, it’s barely more than 1%, and so seems to be a short time.
As you can easily see, the issue is just going to get worse, never better. So all we can do is make the best of those very short years we have remaining to us. And be really glad we don’t live to be 1000 years old!

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