Columnist Rachel Beckett is a Stroud-based writer and thinker who is concerned about making the world a better place.

An author, publisher and mother, Rachel will be sharing her thoughts with readers every month.

TIME as an ever-rolling film reel?

Many of us would struggle to fully understand Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity. Yet when it comes to our personal experience, the relativity of time seems indisputable.

I mean, when you’re little time seems endless.

Like steadily a moving pavement, it conveys you, but you barely give it a thought. Later you notice it speeding up, and there’s an obvious logical reason for this.

At age 11, a decade represents nearly 90 per cent of your life, but when you’re 50 it’s just 20 per cent – and so on.

As life progresses, history can seem closer. The era of the Great Reform Bill is now less than four of my lifetimes ago, whereas when I was eleven it was an unimaginable thirteen lifetimes.

When an annual event comes round, like the Stroud Open Studios this month, we find ourselves thinking ‘It can’t be a year since the last one!’ But it’s interesting that if I think back to last Christmas or Hallowe’en, a different season, it can seem ages ago.

Our sense of time seems closely linked to repeated or cyclical events.

This spring makes us feel closer to the last. We perceive time as a stop-frame animation, lining up a series of memories linked by a theme, and we disregard other information.

This happens when you meet up with an old friend. If you only meet every ten years, both of you notice how time has taken its toll. That’s surely because your ‘stop-frame’ images of each other, in the movie called Time, are so spread out. You don’t have any ‘frames’ of the stages in between.

The movie is just a short video lasting a few seconds, disproportionately weighted towards the days when you saw each other regularly.

There’s a corollary to this – the type of situation where time seems to be stretched.

Did you ever experience something that felt incredibly special and important? Perhaps an endurance challenge for a charity or an intensive project for work?

Chances are, you look back and it seems a considerably extended era of your life. You reminisce about ‘the times we used to have!’ – but reading an old diary you discover it actually only lasted a few weeks!

One such experience is being in a show. You spend an intense three or four months rehearsing in a close-knit group. Later, you look back and reminisce about the mishaps, the laughs, and of course the triumphs.

The show seems greater than the physical space, and the length of time, it occupies. As well as being larger-than-life for the audience, it is life-enhancing for the cast. I am currently involved in The King and I with the Cotswold Players. It promises to be colourful and opulent – a gilded visual feast! My guess is that it will also be looked back upon by many of us as a golden era in years to come.

More details at lRachel Beckett is a writer, illustrator and parent who believes in creative thinking.