"Time (noun): [mass noun] the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole." -Oxford Dictionary
Time is a funny thing. We, as humans, all seem to be aware of the concept of time. What time did you wake up? What time is dinner? When will the train leave? How long is the movie? We have units to measure time - seconds, minutes, hours, days etc. Despite these well defined units of measurement, I feel time seems to be a very flexible and almost completely open to interpretation...
Sometimes time seems to just drag on and on and that long awaited holiday seems to never come; sometimes time just zips past and suddenly a few years have passed; sometimes it feels like a few years have passed when in reality it has only been a few months; sometimes time just seems to not exist at all.
I assume (hope) that I'm not the only person who feels this bizarre effect of time and how we as individuals perceive it. At times, when I'm on the train, my mind wanders and starts to observe what other commuters are doing. I wonder how people have just perceived the same minute that has just passed by. It is the same minute, the same 60 seconds, yet everyone probably felt it was different - some may not have noticed the minutes ticking away; others may have been counting each second, waiting impatiently for the train to arrive at the destination.
It doesn't matter if it was a "fast minute" or a "slow minute" it was still a minute. I may not know if the previous minute for you was "fast" or "slow" but there are a few things that I can be certain that applies to everyone (at least at current time of writing). Firstly, everyone has the same amount of time in a day - whether it feels fast or slow - it is just how we use those 24 hours. Secondly, once something has happened it has happened - you can't change the past. You might be able to do something else to negate the action, but it doesn't change the fact that at that point in time you did whatever you did.
There are many theories about how our brain's perception of time can be influenced by the situation we are in. For example, some say, in a dangerous, life-threatening situation, our brain kicks into overdrive and is able to process more, thus making things appear to happen slower (gives you more time to react). This maybe true, however, I don't think it is just these raw, fundamental human traits that influence our perception of time. There is just something about the way our brain works - sometimes mulling over everything, sometimes not noticing anything at all. There is also something about how time works, how we have defined it, how we perceive it. All I can say is: Time is a funny thing.
ps. Yes, I am aware of the self-referential nature to time in this post, but given how ingrained time is in our thinking, I was unable to avoid it.