Why Does Time Seem To Pass Faster When You Get Older?
It’s a strange phenomenon that you may have experienced yourself. Time, this fact, however immutable and perpetual, seems to accelerate as we grow older. Obviously, aging does not allow us to deviate from the race of time. So where does this bizarre impression come from?
The psychologist William James proposed a beginning of explanation in his book Principles of Psychology published in 1890 in which he said: time seems to accelerate when we age because it is less and less marked by memorable events. Indeed, we commonly measure the passage of time thanks to these moments and especially our “first times”: 1st day of school, 1st holidays etc.
But when we reach adulthood, these striking episodes are considerably different. Consequence: the days are alike, and with them the years. It is the famous routine of life that leads us to no longer see the passing of time. A subjective phenomenon verified by science
Accelerating Time: Different Assumptions
- Highlights the first explanation, already discussed above, is that concerning those famous and striking events that are spreading as we move forward in life. As William James theorized, we would measure the intervals of time spent on the basis that we would be able to remind ourselves of these periods. Childhood and adolescence would thus be conducive to remarkable memories because these periods are rich in events.
- Feeling of the amount of time spent varies according to the age of the individual for a child of 5 years, a year represents 20% of his life. For a person of 50 years, a year is only the equivalent of 2% of his life. This “ratio theory” suggests that we constantly compare the time intervals with the total time of our existence.
- Our biological clock slows down with age another hypothesis would be that aging would disrupt our internal clock. Our perception of time would then be affected, leading us to feel this one more slowly than a young person.
- As we age, we would pay less attention to time Remember when you were a child and the month of December begins: you greedily decipher the days that separated you from Christmas. When you get into adulthood, you’re more focused on giving gifts, preparing eve-rings, bills and all that traditionally involves this time of year.
The more our attention is monopolized by this kind of detail, the less our perception of time is increased. The expectation experienced by the children makes them feel the time as idling. The adults, on the contrary, have “the head in the handlebars”, they feel that time passes quickly.
- Stress would accentuate the phenomenona study by researchers Wittman and Lehnhoff looked at this strange phenomenon. She concluded that the feeling that time is short to accomplish everything that needs to be can be reinterpreted as the impression that it passes too quickly. Even retired people (and thus freed from the time constraints implied by a professional activity) would continue to feel this “virtual acceleration”.
However, let us set the record straight, bearing in mind that this is only a subjective experience. So let’s take a moment to slow down and enjoy the moment. In the end, it remains the only one on which we have a power of action. Think about it!