Why does time fly by the older you get


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I am sitting in my school assembly. I can feel and hear the thin paper sliding from one crackling page to another as my finger tips rush to find the song which the headmaster just mumbled. It's called, "One more step along the world I go". As everyone around me starts to sing I find the lyrics hidden in the middle of the very worn out hymn book called "Come and Praise".

As I start to sing, someone taps my shoulder. I turn.

Suddenly I'm looking at my best man. He's smiling.

As an organ starts to play, my attention is pulled towards the entrance. The outline of my fiancee is glowing as a beam of sunlight hovers around her shoulders as if her deceased father has come to walk her down the isle.

I smile with a rush of thoughts of how wonderful our married life will be. I look down at my black shiny shoes.

My shoes are suddenly moving rapidly back and forth. Looking around me, I find myself crossing inbetween moving traffic as I attempt to get to an important job interview.

As the breeze, from a car rushing by, tickles my legs, I blink.

Next thing I know, I am sitting here writing this blog post.

These are random example memories of how fast my life has unravelled before my eyes.

As I approach 50 years of age, I can categorically tell you that time really does fly by the older you get.

Buy why?

I have set about finding out if there is any scientific evidence to back this time-flying theory up.

In this post, by Rory Maizels, he highlights a study that was done by Professor Adrian Bejan at the Duke University.

The study focuses on the hypothesis that there is a difference between the actual measurement of time and the human ability to perceive time neurologically.

What the heck does that mean in simple talk?

It means that as you get older, your brain does not process as many images and information about time as when you were younger. Therefore, the older you get, the faster a day appears to go by. This is because instead of being aware of thousands (this figure is speculative) of inputs, you are only aware of hundreds (this figure is also speculative) ... Using actual time as an example, it would be like a young 9 year old counting the seconds in a day as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.. compared to an 81 year old counting 2, 4, 6, 8.. Both are leading to 8 (i.e. 24 hours in one day) but each one experiences a different perspective of the same time span.

Separate to that theory, my thoughts are that, if you also throw into the mix that your days become more precious to you the older you get, simply because you know that the older you get the more likely the Reaper will pay you a visit (if you know what I mean!), you naturally want to stop time from passing by so quickly.

It is in the wanting-time-to-slow-down-thinking, that you begin to force mother nature to do the opposite and speed things up. In my mind, that yearning to defy death is one possible reason why time literally feels like it is flying by more quickly the older you get. Another way to state this to a younger person to comprehend is. Imagine if every day was Christmas day. Look at how fast that day goes by when young. Why? Again, it is because you do not want the day to end because of the wondrous things that happen (generally speaking, of course).

Time Theory

Want to know another theory?

Okay, well, I also found this post, written by Jeff Haden from Inc.com.

Jeff mentions that you perceive time as going by more slowly when you are young because your life is full of "Firsts". You first learn to drive. You first learn about pretty much everything. He goes on to say that, if you want time to feel like it is going by more slowly you should try to do something new and different. He gives an example of how he set himself a target of 12 months to do 100k press-ups, and although each day went by quickly whilst doing them, the perception was that year went by slowly because it was packed with so much.

On reading Jeff's post I immediately latched on to the words "Do something different" and jumped to the word my mind yelled at me, which was the word, "Habit" (and yes my mind works weirdly!!). I started to think that when something becomes a habit, you naturally do not have to spend much time and effort to undertake the action the habit involves. For example, driving a car. When you first drive a car, you are having to fill your mind with all kinds of new things, such as check the handbrake is on/off, signal, manoeuvre, and everything else about driving. Whereas, when you have been driving for years, you just jump in the car and don't even think about it. This automation, I am pondering, is what makes time go by faster. This also fits in with the theory the older you get the more habits (skills) you have, and so time goes by faster.

One things is for sure. Whether time goes by fast or slow, no matter your age. This moment right now is all that counts. So make the most of it, appreciate everything, yes even the bad times. I will leave you with an apt quote from the famous spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle's book, called "The Power of Now":

Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.

PS: Here is what ChatGPT said when asked why does time fly the older you get >>>

Author: Christian Jacques Bennett*

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If I could send 2 books back in time for my teenage self to read I would send these. In these two books you have the combined knowledge and wisdom of every single spiritual and self improvement book you can get your hands on .