The older I get, the faster time goes by.
At this point, full years fly by for me. It’s hard to believe the holidays are around the corner again. Didn’t we just put our decorations away? And New Years. Don’t get me started.
If you feel like this, you’re not alone. Scientific analysis has proven that time does, in fact, fly by as we age – and this phenomenon occurs based on two premises.
The older you get, the less percentage of your life is accounted for by any given event. For example, when you’re eight years old, a year accounts for 1/8th of your life. At 50, a year is much less than that. (I’m not showing the math intentionally as I want to keep this positive. You’re welcome.)
This means with your number of life experiences, many of us begin collecting together or “chunking” the events. Much like you do when you put similar documents into one file.
A walk in your neighborhood, for example, becomes repetitive and may be “chunked” into your memory with all neighborhood walks.
As your brain begins to accumulate these experiences and categorize them together, you have the end result of having fewer memories – i.e. time seems to move along more quickly.
Your brain categorizes new and repeated experiences differently. By the time you reach midlife, you’ve had so many experiences there are fewer new or novel ones taking place.
How many times have you driven to work or the grocery store on autopilot? You get there and don’t remember how you made turns or were able to obey traffic laws. That’s what we’re talking about.
So, what can you do about it? Is there a way to slow down the time machine?
Yes, there is!
Seek Out The New
Learn a new skill, actively seek out new experiences or go somewhere you’ve never been before.
In “Why does time fly…or not? It’s all in your mind,” author Anna Salleh states:
“Memories are laid down when we have new experiences – and the stronger the emotion associated with the experience, the longer lasting the memory is.”
By adding in novel experiences, you are less likely to gloss over into autopilot. This, in turn, slows down the passage of time.
An added bonus – you may have fun with the new things you add into your life!
Being on autopilot or being complacent is a trigger that you’re being repetitive. If that works for you, that’s great. But it won’t help to slow down your perception of time.
By being consciously aware of what you’re experiencing, you signal your brain to pay attention. This creates a different chemical reaction and should help you to slow things down.
An added bonus – you’re taking a more active and engaged approach to your life. That’s an investment worth making!