I came up with what might be considered a strange conclusion when thinking about time dilation, and more specifically the Hafele and Keating experiment from 1971. It was shown that time either went faster or slower depending on which direction the plane was traveling in. Since time was measured using an atomic clock where a second is measured from the impact of a particle between two plates, time went slower when the plates moved away from each other thus creating a larger distance for the particle to travel. (Vice versa when the plane was traveling in the opposite direction).
Time dialation can also occur due to gravity, i.e. when in a stronger gravity field, time passes more slowly. But isn't this the same as the Hafele and Keating experiment? Imagine placing an atomic clock in a larger gravitational field compared to Earth. Time would pass more slowly because of the gravitational impact on the particle pulling it in one direction, causing the distance traversed to increase and thus making a second pass more slowly.
My conclusion is then that time does not exist and time dilation is represented as the change in position between two inertial frames (as explained by classical mechanics). Because there is no change in time itself, it is the distance that changes. Time is more like a measure of change itself, a derivative property not a physical. Does this makes sense or have I missed something?