I’m a big fan of “Flow” — the “mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.”
One of the main ways to identify whether you’re in a flow state is if time flies. If you start on a task at 2 PM, and suddenly you look at the clock and it’s 5:30 PM already and it felt like just a minute.
I was talking the other day to a workaholic. She said, “The past five years have just flown right by.”
It got me thinking. Does the distorted time criterion indicate a flow state for large chunks of time — five years — as much as for short periods of time? I’m not so sure. Although we all process and remember time differently, my sense is people who have rich memories and specific guideposts when asked to consider the last five years probably were more immersed in life than those for whom the time “just flew by”.