Why Does Time Speed Up as We Get Older

Time speeds up as you get older, but have you every wondered why? Here are some of the current theories of why time speeds up as we get older.

It’s your birthday again and yet it only feels like yesterday that you were blowing out the candles on your last birthday cake. As the years roll by, it seems that they are picking up speed like a boulder rolling down a mountain. A two week holiday used to seem like months, now you sneeze and it is over. Why? The answer is, that we we don’t know. But there are some logical, and semi scientific, theories.

Why Does Time Speed Up As We Get Older – Your Mind Slowing Down? 

There have been some studies into the phenomenon of our perception of time speeding up as we get older. The results of those studies have been inconclusive, but some interesting ideas have emerged. One fact that has come out of these studies is that as we get older, we get worse at estimating lengths of time. Specifically, we underestimate lengths of time. When a younger person, say someone in their twenties is asked to close their eyes and estimate 1 minute, they generally get within about 5 seconds. When you ask an older person, say a 60 year old, to do the same task, they generally wait until around 70-80 seconds has passed.

What does this mean. Well if you think only 1 minute has passed but really 1.5 minutes have passed, you have essentially lost 30 seconds. Expand this out over a whole day and you start to get the idea. Days are going faster, weeks are going faster, whole years are going faster!! 

But this slowing of the mind only seems to come into effect in our later years in life. The feeling of time speeding up seems to increase incrementally from a young age. There are some other theories.

Why Does Time Speed Up As We Get Older – Have You Just Been Here Before

Have you ever found yourself driving to a place you have never been before and it seems to take forever to get there. You arrive, have a great time and head home. For some reason the trip home seems to only take half the time. This is because you are not paying as much attention to where you are going and what is around you – you know the way home and you have already seen everything before. 

This idea can be expanded to our life as a whole. When we are young, we are constantly having new experiences, going to new places and learning new things. We pay attention to every detail and take it all in. As we get older it is a case of “been there, done that” and we tend to pay a lot less attention to the details around us. As such, everything that is going on around us seems to simply pass by without us noticing. We go to work every day and each day is essentially the same. The days blend into each other and our mind automatically blanks out half of it, giving us the feeling that time is speeding up. As we get older, more and more of our experience is old hat, meaning that our mind takes less and less notice and time seemingly goes faster and faster.

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One Response to “Why Does Time Speed Up as We Get Older”
  1. nimbleful Says...

    On November 17, 2010 at 9:57 am

    awesome article! good points, well made :D

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