Time Flies – Faster and Faster
Thursday, 15 March 2007
Eons ago in internet time, during the first year of this blog, there was a discussion over several posts about theories – reasonable and farfetched - on the well-known phenomenon of time appearing to speed up as we get older.
Everyone knows how it works: you just get the Christmas decorations put away and Thanksgiving is here again – or so it seems. We’ve been saying, “Where does the time go?” since at least our 40s.
Birthdays fly by and I’m fond of saying that time goes so fast I’ll be dead before I know it. I make an appointment for my next semi-annual eye exam while I’m in the office for the current one and before I get home, the assistant calls to remind me my next visit is scheduled for tomorrow.
Mostly, for me, the phenomenon has related to months. Now it is days.
For many years, I’ve used one of those drug store boxes with seven compartments to parcel out my daily vitamin and mineral supplements. There are only four pills, but it has been more efficient to fill up the box once a week than to open each bottle every day. It has the added advantage of being a reminder of what day of the week it is which tends to get away from me. (Once, many years ago, I was halfway to the office wondering where all the traffic was before I realized it was Sunday.)
Recently, that little pill box has emptied out at a speed NASCAR drivers could envy. No sooner do I fill it up than it needs replenishing. This has also happened with the weekly trash pickup on my block. As soon as I have brought the recycling bin back upstairs, the sanitation truck is rumbling by again.
Millie Garfield of My Mom’s Blog has noticed the increased passage of time as well, and in a recent phone visit we laughed about how quickly the seven-day pill box empties. Millie came up with the sensible solution of buying an additional box, thereby filling them only once every two weeks.
I’ve done that now and time has since appeared to slow down a bit. So listen to Millie. At 81, she’s got 16 years on me and she knows what she's talking about.
I am lucky enough not to be taking any medicine regularly! But I still know what you mean. For the last seven days I have been on antibiotics because of a mild dental problem (God, I hate dentists) and the prescription said two capsules three times a day! Now it seems that it shouldn't be too difficult, except that I kept forgetting or thinking that I had just taken the dratted capsules. Three times a day seemed incredibly close to each other. Yes, time flies faster and faster, doesn't it?
Posted by: claude | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 03:52 AM
The days and weeks do have a tendency to fly by. I've worn a day a day/date watch for years in an effort to know what day it really is...
Do we lose track because we're absent minded or because it just really isn't that important in the grand scheme of things??
Posted by: Mizmell | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 04:22 AM
For me I have always thought of times passage as relative to the percentage of life lived: when age 10 those summer breaks stretched almost into eternity but by 35 it seems those I know still chained to scholastic terms are on holidy every time I turn around. 6wks summer holidays as a percentage of my life experience is so much shorter and therefore passes so much more quickly. It also explains to me why the passage of time never ceases to increase in pace - it's absolute percentage of the total is contining to shrink.
Just a thought on this time warp phenomenon! :o)
Posted by: Sophy Merrick | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 04:55 AM
I also take 4 pills a day,,,but I guess I'm lazy as I have a box for the month, so I fill my box once a month,,,,,and still it seems that the months are flying by.
Posted by: Matty | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 05:15 AM
Time flies, I think, because we have less we "must" do for others. Yes, there are things we plan to do but there is no time clock for us now and who's going to "holler" at us if we don't get "it" done? Jobs, whether at the office or at home, really make us jump to get things done on time or else. At least we believe that's so. Now our inner selves know that that's not happening now and so we mentally move at a better pace.
Posted by: notdotdot | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 07:06 AM
I have also been fascinated by the phenomenon of 'time flying' but hate to tell you that today's young people also think it goes fast - not like when we were kids. I am 58 and have a 23-year-old daughter who has been commenting on how time flies by since her early teens. Perhaps this is due to the proliferation of communication media in my life time?
Posted by: Pat Temiz | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 07:49 AM
Out of curiosity, I googled "metaphysical time perception and aging".
I don't recommend anyone else try it.
Geez, such long treatises on quantum physics and New Age whizbangery, made my head spin.
I prefer your simple observation better, and can totally relate.
However, not a total waste of surfing, I did find a book title I want to read courtesy of my quick google: Old Souls
TGB always leads me into less-than-still waters!
And that's a good thing!
Posted by: Cowtown Pattie | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 07:52 AM
Hmmm, the link is broken.
Try this one
Posted by: Cowtown Pattie | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 07:57 AM
Pattie: I'm leaving the link in your comment, but the one in the story works too.
Posted by: Ronni Bennett | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 08:52 AM
Not only does time pass faster now, and the pill boxes empty quickly - the problem I have a buying a large pill box to hold them all....LOL
Posted by: kenju | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 11:50 AM
I haven't read that book, but I have read several others with similar themes. They are fascinating.
Posted by: kenju | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 11:52 AM
Just to add to Sophy Merrick's comment, the eminent psychiatrist and holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl, explained this phenomenon.
According to him, since each year is a smaller percentage of our total lifetime, from a relative standpoint, it seems to be shorter than the previous one.
In other words, to a four-year old, a year is 1/4 of their lifetime. To a 70-year old, a year is 1/70 of their lifetime.
Since we tend to view things with respect to our total lifetime, as we age time seems to speed up
Posted by: Bronski | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 02:06 PM
Matty's idea of a pill box that you fill once a month sounds like the way to go! She's ahead of me on that one!! Next time i'm in the market I'll take a look, I just might buy one.
I'd rather spend a few extra minutes blogging than filling a pill box.
Posted by: millie garfield | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 06:17 PM
I agree with Bronski. Today, I was trying to get my 3 year old granddaughter to take a nap after a very active morning. I was hoping for just an hour...just an hour, you know? Every 5 minutes she was popping out, "Is it 3:00 yet?" "Is it 10 minutes yet?" I gave up after 30 minutes. I better take advantage of every hour she's 3, since she'll be 12 in the blink of an eye!
Posted by: Travelinoma | Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 11:23 PM
Victor Frankl, named in Bronski's comment, makes sense out of a frustrating phenomenon. When I was a child a whole week waiting for Santa's arrival was an eternity. Now each day is one day closer to my having to leave this beautiful planet. Time is flying by so fast; so much to do - so little time.
Posted by: Darlene | Friday, 16 March 2007 at 07:10 AM
Remember when you were little and you couldn't wait to go to school? Then as a grade schooler, you couldn't wait to be a teenager and then to be in high school When you reached that magic stage, you couldn't wait to be 21?
Now at our are, you can wait because time goes so fast and you want more time to enjoy your life but it keeps slipping away. I guess we have to enjoy each day and the future will take care of itself, if we are lucky enough to see it.
Posted by: lakedawn | Friday, 16 March 2007 at 07:28 AM
WOW... finally there are others who feel time going by faster. I thought it was just me.... and maybe I had too much time to think about it???? Now, that doesn't make sense, does it? I like the pill box theories; as a retired nurse, I have helped people over the years with pill boxes, so they don't forget or if they are already a bit forgetful to set up their pills for a week or more at a time..... I like the 'month' idea too. Guess I'll try it. Now I have to get busy on next Christmas !!!!!! Carol
Posted by: Carol | Friday, 16 March 2007 at 09:47 PM
Was just thinking about this whole time concept the other day, so this post caught my eye. I identify with those who experienced time dragging in the summer when school age, but once I left home my experience has been each succeeding year has sped up progressively faster. I'm zooming right along right now, so can only imagine what the coming years will be like.
As for pills, the box idea sounds good. Right now with the few I'm taking, I've worked out a little scheme having to do with the way in which I turn the bottle to remind me whether or not I've taken the pill. Interesting all the different systems we work out.
Posted by: Joared | Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 01:13 AM
Just yesterday I declared to whomever would listen that the reason the hours of a day were short is that we have less energy to focus for more than five hours. The rest is sitting or reading or doing nothing important! Then, bedtime!!
Posted by: Vivian | Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 09:11 AM
Yes, I totally identify with this post. I mark my weeks by a couple milestones--putting out the recycling (Monday), church on Sunday when I go, Tuesday when I begin my three day workweek, and Friday my first day off of work. Zing, zing, zing. Don't do the pillbox thing, but maybe I will. I loved reading the comments for your entry--and I had forgotten to check Millie lately. Thanks for that, too.
Posted by: Fran aka Redondowriter | Saturday, 17 March 2007 at 11:34 PM
A very wise 80+ year old man has a theory on time passing faster as we get older. He says that time doesn't go faster, we go slower.
Posted by: 'BB | Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 08:30 PM
Our heartrate is like a bodyclock and I think the 80 year old is right , because if we look at our heart rate when we are born. It is 100 to 112 per minute , lets say 100. Ok work it out and you will discover a newborn rate to be around 5.256.000.000 heartbeat per year. I am 55 and according to my age my heartrate should be 83 and that makes my heart beat 4.362.480.000 per year. in other words,
by the time my heart reaches 5.256.000.000 onother 75 days has past. That i think is the reason we feel that time is flying.
Posted by: Karl | Sunday, 13 May 2007 at 03:19 AM
I'm twenty-three and I already feel time fly. I thought the days just felt shorter because I stayed up late and saw less sunlight - reading this page, I now feel like you're right. I've known of the phenemenon for a while now, but I didn't truly believe it until I stumbled across this website and realised that time really does seem to pass faster.
It scares the goddamn crap out of me. Since reading this page four days ago, I haven't felt like myself. It's like being told my subjective life expectancy just halved. I feel like I'm being hurried along. Every time I look at the clock it's leapt forward twenty minutes; half-hours pass like I remember ten minutes doing, and I no longer have any sense of time. I feel utterly pointless. I always knew an end would come; I just expected to reach it in due time, instead of hurtling down toward it at an accelerating rate.
Days flick by insignificantly. Weekly events feel as if it's only been perhaps four days. It utterly depresses me. Someone tell me that there's a way to mitigate this.
Do all people experience this? Did people know about it and write about it in ancient times? Is there a true cause - depression, stress, a lack of doing things, or some aspect of modern life that didn't exist in ancient times? Is there any cure?
Posted by: Jack | Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 11:36 AM
What happens is we get into routine as we age. You have to make a living somehow when you grow up. You don't think of these things when your young.
Posted by: Royce | Wednesday, 09 July 2008 at 10:48 PM
I think times goes by normal (slower) when you're excited about life like a little kid. Excitement and anticipation makes time sloooow down ... read my whole blog post on this here: http://klimb.com/blog/2008/08/08/time-goes-by-faster-the-older-you-get
Posted by: Dmitry Kalashnikov | Friday, 08 August 2008 at 10:22 AM
I think times goes by normal (slower) when you're excited about life like a little kid. Excitement and anticipation makes time sloooow down ... read my whole blog post on this here: I think times goes by normal (slower) when you're excited about life like a little kid. Excitement and anticipation makes time sloooow down ... read my whole blog post on this here: http://klimb.com/blog/2008/08/08/time-goes-by-faster-the-older-you-get
(Sorry it didn't let me delete my previous post. I just wanted to add a link).
Posted by: Dmitry Kalashnikov | Friday, 08 August 2008 at 10:23 AM
I feel that time has sped up a lot. I have asked younger people if they feel the same and they say yes. There never seems to be enough time in the day to do stuff you want to do. It always jumps from morning to afternoon in a few mins (seems like) to the evening and then bed and then the same thing again the next day and then it is next week lol. I don't know anything about physics to explain it as something that is occuring because of planetary shifts or gravitational pulls but maybe science can give an explanation that I think we would all like to know. There is an answer....we just don't know it. Oh, got to go time just flew by... lol
Posted by: Mandy | Monday, 28 December 2009 at 10:18 AM