Updated: Jan 9
A client of mine recently asked me this question, “Why does it seem that time is going faster for me now?”
I thought this is a very interesting question, so I did some research, thought about what time means to me, and how I process time in my own life.
Today I am going to try and explain this "time goes faster as we get older phenomena", but first I will endeavour to explain what the experts say on this topic.
When young we were constantly learning new things, doing new stuff, and having adventures. This means that the young mind learns at an amazingly fast rate. The experts believe that the brains of children pack so much memorable stuff into their days that their perception of time is slower than adults. To add to this, the neural circuit level in the young person's brain is quite simple and still developing, which slows down their perception of time.
Adults on the other hand do more routine, less adventurous or novelty things as children do. This means that so many things that an adult does is not so memorable. And because they are not so memorable, as the experts say, the older person’s time perception is quicker than children. The mind of an adult’s neural circuit level is fully developed making the transmission of data to the memory slower. This slower transmission of memories through the adult brain makes it seem as if time is going faster. Are you still with me? I’m not 100% sold on it, but it all sounds extremely interesting. I will provide the links to the articles I read during my research below. Then you can make a more informed decision about this topic.
I like to believe that when we were younger there was no time constraints on us. It was all about fun, enjoy yourself, and living each day to the full. It was up to mum and dad to keep our time in check. We were not concerned about what happened yesterday, or concerned about what is going to happen in the future, we just lived for the day. Therefore we were not hung up on how much time we had and if we were going to get everything done in the time allocated. I am speaking about observations I have witnessed watching my now 8-year-old son growing up. I am also remembering my childhood. Everyday was an adventure. I would leave the house in the morning, spend the whole day outside, playing armies, swimming in the river, or riding my bike or skateboard. My only time constraints were to be home before it got dark.
Now let’s look at adults. Once we enter adulthood, suddenly we have time constraints. We must turn up to work at a certain time and leave to go home at a certain time. Then we have other activities to do, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes etc. Then children come along which throws a spanner in the works. We have now even less time because we must juggle work, children, the cleaning, shopping, socialising, our fitness and sleep with only 24 hours to do it. We seem to do this quite well and are not really concerned about this time speeding up phenomenon until we hit around 40-45 years of age. Now at this age we are kind of halfway through life. We start to believe that we are running out of time, that the bucket list continues to be full, our health is deteriorating, and the years just seem to start flying by. With the time that we have, we continue to jam pack our days full of things to do, leaving no time for novelty, adventure, and memorable happenings.
So in summary it's not that time is actually running faster it's just that the end is coming soon and we are fearful that what is on our list won't be accomplished. These are just my thoughts and observations, so let me know your thoughts on this whole-time phenomenon.
So how does one beat the time speeding up phenomenon?
Shake yourself out of routine. Start to do things which excites you. Be adventurous, try new things and break the ingrained habits of normality in your life. Go to new places. Meet new people. Be spontaneous. Then in the evening sit down and spend several minutes thinking about what was unique and memorable about your day.
Stop looking forward in time and thinking there is not enough. Remember that the clock and calendar were created by man as a control mechanism. If we did not observe time, then we would not even know what age we were. Think about that for a moment and the possibilities it unfolds.
On the weekends, if you can, run your days without the clock. Awaken when your body is ready, eat when you are hungry, shower if you start to smell, and fall into bed exhausted because you have had memorable happenings, excitement and adventures all day.
These are the research links of the time speeding up phenomenon:
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