Here's the truth: People, even regular people, are never just any one person with one set of attributes. It's not that simple. We're all at the mercy of the limbic system, clouds of electricity drifting through the brain. Every man is broken into twenty-four-hour fractions, and then again within those twenty-four hours. It's a daily pantomime, one man yielding control to the next: a backstage crowded with old hacks clamoring for their turn in the spotlight. Every week, every day. The angry man hands the baton over to the sulking man, and in turn to the sex addict, the introvert, the conversationalist. Every man is a mob, a chain gang of idiots.
This is the tragedy of life. Because for a few minutes of every day, every man becomes a genius. Moments of clarity, insight, whatever you want to call them. The clouds part, the planets get in a neat little line, and everything becomes obvious. I should quit smoking, maybe, or here's how I could make a fast million, or such and such is the key to eternal happiness. That's the miserable truth. For a few moments, the secrets of the universe are opened to us. Life is a cheap parlor trick. But then the genius, the savant, has to hand over the controls to the next guy down the pike, most likely the guy who just wants to eat potato chips, and insight and brilliance and salvation are all entrusted to a moron or a hedonist or a narcoleptic.
-Earl, Memento Mori
I am 32 years old.
I have aged 32 years since birth.
It has been 32 years since I was born.
Or you could do it the Spanish way: Yo tengo 32 años, I have 32 years.
Right now I have 12285 days.
I think people should think about their age in the terms of days. When you think about it, using the year as the unit for measurement for life is foggy. How long is a year? Sure we know it's 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, etc. When you think about a year of your life a flood of memories should come in, enough for you to talk about it for a few hours. But if it was really a year's worth you should be able to have enough to talk about for a day at least. However that's not the case.
Perhaps it has something to do with the way memory works; it's not exactly like video camera where events, pictures, sounds, feelings, are played through in a linear manner. Rather, the brain links up memories that trigger based in some non linear fashion as we think and remember about them. That distorts our perspective of time. Much like the theory of relativity, which says that time becomes slower as gravity increases, our own perception of time is distorted based on the gravity of a situation. Really intense events trigger a flood of memories which in turn makes us perceive that time slows down, whereas really mundane events trigger almost no memories which makes us perceive that time speeds up. The result is a really exciting year, say your 1st year of college, is perceived to be much longer than a really boring year, like a 10th year of working at a pretty boring job.
A year is like one of those measurements that cover too much for immediate comprehension. For example, speed, anyone who's familiar with driving has a good idea how fast 0-100 MPH is. Once you go beyond that it starts to get fuzzy; what's faster, a bullet being fired or a supersonic jet? Sure the day is subject to the same problems: some days drag on, others breeze by, and occasionally there are days you completely forget. But everyone has a good idea how long a day is and usually what to expect out of it, an hour or so of routine, 1/3 work, another 1/3 sleep, some free time to do whatever, then repeat, and so on.
Also, though this might be particular to me, life seems shorter when expressed in days. This seems ironic to me that a larger number doesn't have the effect of larger in size; 12285 days doesn't seem like much but 80 years seems way off into the future. That might seem depressing but to me expressing an age in days makes me think about how fleeting life is. It motivates me to do something with this day, something more important than just sitting around.