Why do the years go by faster as you get older?
Have you ever noticed that the older you get, the faster the years seem to go by? It definitely seems or feels like time moves faster as you get older. I don’t believe that time changes its pace – but why does it feel like it does?
My theory is similar to Newton’s theory of relativity. Every unit of time that passes is a relatively shorter amount of your total lifespan; therefore your brain perceives that unit of time to be shorter.
Take the unit of time to be years, for example. The first 365 days after birth amounts to 100% of your total lifespan, at that moment. The next 365 days is then only 50%. As the years go on, they each become a smaller percentage of your entire lifespan, but only relative to how old your are at that particular time. So when you turn 50, the last year you experienced was only 2% of your perceived lifetime up to that point. Since you experience less “relative time” every year, the years go by faster as you get older!
So think about a baby who was just born. The first day (our new unit of time measurement) they live will feel like the longest day of their life. All following days should seem shorter relative that that first day. Of course, no one can recall the first day on earth following birth, but this is my prediction.
If we use a day or week as our unit of time, it could be argued that in our working years, some days or weeks seems to be longer than others. This varies based on how busy you are, or if you are under stress. Therefore, an alternate theory is that we perceive time relative to how much responsibility we are accountable for. Specifically, the more responsibility, the fast that time seems to move.
This holds true to why the years go by faster as you get older, but when you’re retired or in an assisted living apartment, time should feel like it is slowing down.
I am only 24 (right now…) – so I guess I’ll have to revisit this theory as the years pass…
Check out what some older folks had to say about the older you get, the faster the years go by.