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As a kid I recall adults – my parents, my grandparents, others – every now and then talk and complain about how time flies by or some similar sentiment. When they made these statements and complaints, they weren’t talking about how quickly their workday went by or how rapidly tonight’s dinner party came and went. Instead, the context of these statements generally referred to longer time frames – how quickly the last week or the last month or six months flew by.
At the time, I didn’t really understand what they were talking about and I figured it was just something adults said. And, although it is something adults say, there is a certain truth to it. I’m in my sixties now, and I understand what those adults were talking about. I’ve understood it for a while now – I don’t know when I first experienced this phenomenon – I imagine I was around 30 years of age. As far as I know, this is a common occurrence – at some point in time most of us (all of us?) experience this perception of the speeding up of time as we age.
Of course, time doesn’t actually speed up as we age. The passing of one minute, one hour, or one day is the same for a 16-year-old as for a 60-year-old, and each would agree on the amount of time elapsed. However, after the passing of some amount of time, the time will seem to have elapsed quicker to the 60-year-old than to the 16-year-old. I don’t know why that is. I never studied psychology, neuroscience, or any discipline that might touch upon the subject. That, however, hasn’t deterred me from hypothesizing on why this is so. I have two theories about this which I wish to present and see what others may think.