Why Time Goes Faster as We Get Older?

As a young child time seemed to drag on and on. A week seemed like a lifetime and a year, well a year was incomprehensible. But as we age time seems to go by much quicker. Everyone New Years we remark about how the year flew by. But why do we have such different experiences of time depending on our age?

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There are many different reasons out there, one of them was written about by Psychologist William James in 1890 in his book, Principles of Psychology. He believes that when we are a young age there are many firsts that happen. This could be anything from the first day of school to the first serious job. The first couple decades are often full of major milestones. As age creeps up though people get into a routine. Whether that is a family routine or an individual routine, this tends to happen. There are less “big” milestones and more of just the same day in and day out. James depressingly writes that this lack of new experiences causes “the days and weeks [to] smooth themselves out...and the years grow hollow and collapse.”

There is also a mathematical explanation as to why time seems to go faster with age. The Austrian designer Maximilian Kiener states that it is just a matter of percentage. When you are 3, a year is 33.33% of your life verses when you are 26 when a year is only 3.85% of your life. A year doesn’t seem as large as you get older. It becomes a smaller amount of your overall life experience as you age.

Another explanation is that the older we get, the less we pay attention to time in general. Children love counting down the days until special days such as Christmas, their birthday or their first day of school. Adults are busy paying attention to everything except the counting down of days. There are bills that need to be paid, places to go and plenty of things to do.

While time will never go quite as slow as when you were a child, there are things you can do to slow down time. Pause and enjoy life. Everyone gets 24-hours in a day but it is what you do with it that makes the difference. If at all possible, break a routine. Instead of staying at home and watching TV all weekend, head out for a hike with the family or friends and make the most out of the day. Find new experiences to enjoy and time will go much slower.

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