All the Happiness authorities say it's good, though, to vary routine and seek novelty. Time and memory have much to do with happiness, and the more variety we can squeeze into our lives the deeper our well of memorable experiences to draw on in later life.
"Two millennia after Seneca’s acutely timely treatise on how to extend the shortness of life by living wide rather than long," Maria Popova notes, Marc Wittmann in Felt Time examines the psychology of expanding our experience of time:
In order to feel that one’s life is flowing more slowly — and fully — one might seek out new situations over and over to have novel experiences that, because of their emotional value, are retained by memory over the long term. Greater variety makes a given period of life expand in retrospect. Life passes more slowly. If one challenges oneself consistently, it pays off, over the years, as the feeling of having lived fully — and, most importantly, of having lived for a long time. (continues)Hence the tragedy of Alzheimer's and its anticipation, as featured in the Times yesterday. And yet, it's possible to mute the tragedy's early stages with a little help from your friends in the support group.
“It’s like a party,” she would tell others. “Everyone’s laughing. And everyone is happy they are with people just like them who can’t get the words out and can’t find the bus pass.”
Sitting there in the bubbly ambience, she would sometimes think, We shouldn’t be this happy.
It was as if they were all high. High on Alzheimer’s.
Good for them. When that high wears off, they may want to consider other possibilities for generating new life-expanding situations and novel experiences.
Live wide and long, and prosper.
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