Why do the years go by faster as you get older?

April 6, 2009 · Posted in Physical Supernatural 

Your perception of time

Your perception of time

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.

11 Responses to “Why do the years go by faster as you get older?”

  1. […] is my original post on this topic: why years go by faster as you get […]

  2. guest on February 27th, 2011 9:13 am

    I am 72 yrs of age and feel that time does go by faster as I age and sometimes I have many things to do and others I do not!! but guess when I was in my teens it seemed to not go by as fast!! and a few years ago I was planning a trip overseas and it seemd to be a long time to wait for the trip and now it is long gone and such..

  3. Ann on July 13th, 2011 9:33 pm

    I googled this question because both my husband and I have been freaking out that each year that passes is flying by faster than the previous year. I am 54 and he is 46 and he started noticing this about 3 years ago. It's quite disturbing because before I know it – I'll be 70 … IF I live that long !

  4. Jereniah Grooms on October 31st, 2011 4:37 am

    (I’m 13 btw) its because when your 2 years old I year is half your life so if your 40 years old that one year is 1/40 and that’s alot less then 1/2 so thereoreticly about your 20’s is mid aged

  5. JimfromTampa on December 21st, 2011 8:44 pm

    It seemed to have taken 20 years to get to be 16 so I could drive and far less time to get from 30 to 52.

  6. matt on January 26th, 2012 11:13 pm

    It's true most of my events are a longer time than I think

  7. Paul on October 5th, 2012 12:03 am

    No-one has talked about the remaining time we have. When you are 20, you have so many things you want to do and pack in to your life. And your death seems so far away it isnt imaginable. I recall being 16 and thinking that when the year 2000 came round I would be 40. Older than my father was at the time. That was inconceivable. I would never be 40. I was invincible. I am 52 now. Many of my friends are no longer with us. It is much easier to now count my remaining summers. It could be a few, it could be a whole bunch more if I'm lucky. But nonetheless I can see the end of the tunnel from here. I choose carefully what I put my time and energy into now. That is why it feels like it goes faster.
    Think about it. You can sit in a rocket powered cart and travel at 100mph … at the start of a hundred mile track you can wave your hands in the air… its fun… wheeeeeeh….. and you dont perceive any difference. When you can see the brick wall at the end of the track your perception of your speed will change as you now have something to measure it against. the oncoming wall.

  8. @ClitFlea on February 26th, 2013 1:21 pm

    I HATE how true this is! I turn only 23 today & I feel like each year after I was 18 or maybe 20 years have been flying by like crazy. 5 years ago I was 18 yet 5 years before that I was 13. The years from 13 to 18 feel SO MUCH LONGER than 18 to 23! its crazy 7 scary to me! Makes me feel like im about to be 30 when I was just 20, 3 short years ago!

  9. Arsham Mirshah on February 26th, 2013 2:06 pm

    CRAZY isn't it? 🙂

  10. Aki on April 9th, 2014 11:45 am

    I was eleven when i first saw this post…

  11. Arsham Mirshah on April 11th, 2014 1:35 pm

    How old are you now?

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