Time Becomes More Fleeting as We Get Older

January 11, 2017

The fleetingness of time becomes more concerning the older we getbecause it seems like everything around us starts to go by more quickly. Why does this not happen when we’re young? At 7 or 10 years old, time seems eternal, but beyond the age of 20 it flies without stopping.

When I was young, I remember that it seemed to take an eternity for Christmas or my birthday to arrive.

This is a psychological effect that we all experience. Time doesn’t pass more quickly, it’s just our perception that changes. Routine prevents us from enjoying each day to the fullest, and our memories get pushed further and further back into a more distant past. All of this influences our perception of how fast time goes.

The fleetingness of time is a question of perception

Time passes the same for every person, but the perception of it isn’t always the same. Generally, when they’re over 20 years old, people will notice that it passes more quickly than before. This is because they’re much more aware of it. At this age, it’s become much more important. Isn’t it true that now, you always know around what time it is?

But there are many people who know how to take advantage of each day and enjoy it like when they were younger. For them, the undesirable advancement of the second hand doesn’t involve constant stress. Remember the importance of perception; it’s the key to all of this. Can something be done to avoid feeling like time can’t be slowed down?

butterfly coming out of sewing machine

Have you ever noticed how when you’re bored and have nothing to do, time passes very slowly? On the other hand, when you’re immersed in a work routine full of meetings, obligations, projects, and presentations, it feels like there’s not enough time in the day.

We get older and gain responsibilities, but we lose track of time.

It all depends on what you have to do, your obligations and routines. When you break the routine and go on vacation, you’re not as aware of the clock as when you’re working. Along with age, this influences your perception of time. The older you get, the faster it seems to fly.

When I’m Old, I Want People with Young Minds by My Side

Memory and time

On top of your routine and workload, there’s another factor that can explain why life passes before your eyes more quickly as you get older: memory. When you look back, the older you are, the less memories you’ll have of the most recent years, and the younger you are, the more recent memories you’ll have.

The few memories that remain in one’s mind produce this strange effect that makes us think time is moving at the speed of light. But have you ever noticed, looking back and counting the days, that not as much time had passed as you thought?

Imagine that you went through a breakup a year ago. In your inner world, you might think that little time has passed, but when you do the math, you realize a year has gone by! Your perception made you believe that less time passed than what actually did. This is because your memories from that period are scarce, and many of them have been erased.

girls holding baskets of flowers

This would explain why everything goes by more slowly in childhood and adolescence. Your memories of the last few hours are much more vivid and intense. But memory is limited, and as you get older, only the most relevant memories remain. This makes them feel much closer than they are.

Fleetingness is synonymous with wasting the hours that pass before you as if nothing had any meaning.

In the first few years of school, college, or a new job, everything leaves a mark on your life. You’re continuously learning, your first love stories develop, you meet a lot of people, you experiment, you travel. As such, changes occur one after another, and you’re fully aware of them, in contrast to what happens during childhood.

However quickly or slowly it passes, the best thing that can be done with time is to take advantage of it. It’s important that you don’t feel like you’ve thrown it away. Rather, you must realize that it’s the best gift you can give to others, because it’s limited and belongs to you in some way.

clock with butterflies

It’s Not the Days We Remember, It’s the Moments