Why Does Time Seem To Move Faster As We Grow Older?

As we age, time seems to speed up. A month might seem a long time to a child, but a short window to an adult. Why?

I distinctly remember events in my childhood taking a long time. A year between birthdays, for example, seemed to stretch on and on. Starting a new school year was significant, because each school year seemed to last a remarkably long time.

In contrast, as an adult things happen quickly. It seems like you barely change your clocks and then it is time to change them again. Birthdays start to merge in your memory. Even things that take years, like the Olympics, seem like little more than the blink of an eye.

The amount of time passing, of course, doesn’t change. A year consists of the same amount of time when you are five as when you are 50. However, the way we experience that year is quite different.

Is it the fact that there are more demands on your time as an adult? We need to do more, and we never seem to have enough time. That might make each day (and week, and month, and so on) fly by.

Does it have to do with how close you are to the end of your life? After all, A journey of a thousand miles might seem much shorter when there are only 10 miles left to go.

Does it have to do with novelty? As a child, nearly every experience is brand new. But when we get older, we settle in to a routine. The brain seems to process new experiences in a different way than something we have done over and over.

Or is it a combination of all these things, or something else altogether?

Do you agree that time seems to move faster the older we get? Why do you think it might be so?

Related questions: What is time? Do you have unstructured time? What would you do if you had more time? What do you spend too much time doing?

1 thought on “Why Does Time Seem To Move Faster As We Grow Older?”

  1. Time does seem to move faster as you grow older. It happens due to the current moment’s time compared to the time we’ve been alive. For example, our super-fun 5th birthday is compared to 1837 days, whereas our 50th celebration is compared to 18,262. One day feels more significant than the other.

    Luckily, we can slow things down. Some meditative practices and philosophies teach us to live in the present. If we savor the moments we are in, we place more value on them. Appreciation of the moment affords more attention to what’s going on then and there. That attention refuses to let the present moment whiz on by.

    Those same meditative practices and philosophies, in instructing us to live in the present, tell us to spend less time living in the past or wondering about the future. They see such effort as a poor use of time. Use the past to teach us how to act better now and plan for the future. But leave it at that. And by all means, quit worrying about the past and fearing the future; it’s a waste of time. (I need to practice what I preach.) In wasting less time, we get to cherish our present moments more.

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