Why Do Days Go by Faster As You Get Older
Published on Saturday, February 26th, 2011 at 11:40 pm and is filed under General Psychology
I’ve never heard anyone say anything contrary to the days going by faster as you get older. Did it occur to you that the older you get, the faster the years seem to go by?
I don’t think time speeds up, but why does it FEEL like it does? I have a theory that might explain this phenomenon…
The theory of why time moves faster as we get older is similar to or stems from Newtons theory of relativity.
Every unit of time that expires is a relatively less portion of your entire lifespan, therefore you perceive it to be shorter.
Let me explain.
Let’s choose our unit of time to be a day. The first day (24 hours) of your life constitutes 100% of your total life span. Then the second day that passes accounts for how much of your entire life? You got it, 50%. So then the third day would be 33%, and so on.
As you can see, the days seem to go by faster as we get older because every day is relatively less time compared to our entire life time or lifespan!
If your math skills are sharp, you can see the curved graph with time on the x axis and percentage of life on the y axis (had to throw that out there for my math lovers… the graph looks like “long tail theory” doesn’t it?)
Just to be clear, let’s try with another unit of time… take years for example. The first 365 days that you’re on this planet equate to 100% of your lifepsan. Then the next year 365 days is only 50% of your life.
Here is a quiz, just to make sure you’re following along… when you turn 50, what percentage of your total lifespan does the last year account for?… Did you say 2%? That’s right!
Why do the days go by faster as you get older?? Because every unit of time is a relatively smaller amount of your life!
In addition to this theory, you could say that we perceive time relative to how busy, or how much responsibility we have. That is, when we are a baby, we don’t have a care in the world.. there is no school or work, so time goes by really slow.
Then as you get older, you go to school, get a job, mortgage, the list goes on.. so the more responsibility (and/or stress) you experience might attribute to why the years seem to go by faster.
The only problem to that idea is that when you retire and are living in an assisted living facility, time should seem like it’s slowing down.