Living Life at 2x Speed
My life changed forever when I discovered the power of 2x speed.
I was an average content consumer who used to watch videos at a normal speed. What always bothered me was the duration of the videos. I am the kind of person who looks at how many pages a book has before hopping onto it. So, naturally, I used to opt for 5 to 7-minute-long videos.
Over the years, I trained my brain into squeezing, say, a 10-minute-long video into a short and sweet timeframe.
At first, it seemed harmless. I was consuming a lot more content in a shorter period. It helped me discover more content to watch. On top of that, this crazy habit crept into my daily academic routine. When I watched tutorial videos at 2x speed, I felt like I had a productive time. I could cram in hours and hours of lectures in a few minutes. It helped me focus longer and retain more knowledge.
Personally speaking, it's better to pour 100 percent of your attention into watching a 15-minute-long tutorial than watching a 2-hour-long recording of your boring class lectures. It saves time, helps shuffle through different teaching styles, and shoves in a tremendous amount of productivity in a short amount of time. Apart from saving time on unnecessarily long videos with slow speakers, this practice is free from any technical difficulties.
Soon, my focus shifted to entertainment. I gradually started cranking up the speed so much that I am now comfortable watching Netflix shows and movies at 2x speed. Slow-paced content makes me fidgety and uneasy. How bad can sped-up visual media be? Not that bad, I suppose. But here's the thing, I don't feel any discomfort speeding things up; rather, it feels good that I can fly through all the long pauses and background music.
What's worse is that I don't get to enjoy a regular film nor sit through a whole movie in a theatre anymore. I miss the joy of watching an actor spew their well-versed lines into birthing an iconic scene.
Music is a grey area for me. I avoid listening to music at 2x because it ruins the temporal arrangement that the song is supposed to be in. I must admit, I have tried to speed up a few tracks from time to time. Podcasts are fun to listen to when sped-up.
My deduction from my eccentric habit is, whenever I listen to something at 2x speed for the first time, my brain registers it as normal. Real-life voices sound funny to me afterwards. The same goes for all the content I watched or heard before I picked up on this strange mannerism, they make me uncomfortable.
Studies show our brains can be rewired in two weeks. And I believe that I have certainly rewired mine. Although it has damaged my attention span substantially, I can't return to being my old self again.
Farnaz Fawad Hasan is a disintegrating pool noodle wanting to stay afloat. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org