Why does time seem to go faster as you get older?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MikeH1, Dec 19, 2001.

  1. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    This is something I think about once in a while. Ten years old in 1984 is when I started understanding time and years. Those were some long years back then! Even as a younger teen a year felt like a year, but as i went through my teens every year become just a tad shorter. That changed when I was about 19. All of a sudden the years were not just becoming shorter, but were ending alomost as fast as they began. It was like that until I was 24. And now, being almost 28, the last four years have been so fast its scary.
    I read once that the reason this seems is because, the more you experience time, the more you have to compare current time with. Or something like that. Just like driving down an unknown road for the first time. The unfamiliarity of it seems to slow down the watches hands. Strange really.
    Anyway, just my thought of the day. [​IMG]
     
  2. Trey Fletcher

    Trey Fletcher Second Unit

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    I've always looked at it like this. When you were 10 years old, each year of your life represented 10% of your total time alive. Now that you are 28, each year represents only 3.5%. Basically, each year you live seems to be shorter because they continually make up less and less of your life (perentage wise anyway). A year when you're 50, only makes up 2% or your lifespan, etc., etc...Am I making any sense? Probably not. TF
     
  3. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    I know what you mean, Mike. I am 34 and now a year is like nothing to me, it just flies by so fast. I can't imagine what it will be like in the coming years.

    Perhaps it's just a matter of percentages. When you are 10 years old, a single year is 10% of your whole life! It seems like it takes forever to get to that next birthday. Summer vacations (away from school) stretched out like they were infinite. Nowadays, it seems like summer is over in a blink.

    Keeping busy just makes time go even faster, I think. The only thing that really slows time down is physical pain. I had a bad toothache for a weekend once and I couldn't get to the dentist, and I felt every minute tick by.
     
  4. Dave_P

    Dave_P Stunt Coordinator

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    The Poverty of Time. There are more things to do as you get older in what is perceived as less time to do it.
     
  5. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    More time commitments. Wife, job, kids, etc. Also when you are a kid, you tend to look FORWARD more than backward and the waiting can be soooo painful for a 14 year-old waiting for his birthday or christmas.

    Great thread by the way.

    Jason
     
  6. Kurt B

    Kurt B Stunt Coordinator

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    Jason pretty much covered what I thought. As a kid, I had lots of free time available. Today, It's run to my daughters sporting events in High School, attend other functions for a daughter in college, buy the gifts, wrap gifts, decorate the home, and so on. I need a clone, one to go to work and do the running, and the original to stay home and watch my movies [​IMG]
     
  7. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    As an amateur writer, this is one of the subjects that keeps popping up in my characters' lives, as it mirrors my own life.

    I think the biggest factor is that we don't have free time. Notice how time stretches out for you when you're waiting 2 hours in the lobby of a mechanic's shop? Yet those same 2 hours disappear when you're rushing from work to a dinner appointment and then out to some shopping errand?

    Of course, it also could be that the older we get, the more aware we are of our mortality, and thus the feeling of time passing by is more evident than in our youth, when we were convinced we would live forever, and that 16, let alone 21, seemed an eternity away.
     
  8. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    I'm just here to agree with everyone else. When I was a kid, time just dragged on. Each new schoolyear seemed like another lifetime. Summer vacations seemed like they would never end. Waiting up for big things - birthdays, Christmas, getting your first license - took forever.

    My 20's have flown by so fast it's not even funny. It feels like I just moved into my new house yesterday, but I've been there a year and a half now. Evenings fly by. I get home, eat dinner, and before I know it it's 11:00 and time for bed. When I was younger, weekends took forever to come. Now, every time I turn around, it's Friday evening again and I get a couple days off work.

    When I was younger, I planned things by the day or week. Long term plans were two weeks away. Now, I'm planning my future in decades. "Let's see... if I put $x per month into this account, I'll have my car paid off in two years. Thereafter, if I continue putting that money into this other account, at x% interest I should have enough money to buy (whatever) in 3 more years." Right now, I've got my investments planned out in detail for the next 6 years, not including retirement investments...

    And it's not just financial stuff. Day to day life is planned months in advance. We set our Thanksgiving plans back in July/August. It's a whole, crazy new world...
     
  9. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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    Of course, the reverse effect may happen when you get very old.

    Nothing like being 80 and clutching your walker for dear life wasting away time by putting together puzzles.

    But, maybe I'll just sleep away time.
     
  10. Scott McGillivray

    Scott McGillivray Supporting Actor

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    Interesting that this topic was brought up. I have been talking about it a lot lately. I just turned 31 recently and was waxing nostalgic. I thought about how fast the past few years have gone by. Like others have posted, I recall summer vacations in elementary school that seemed to last forever. Now, I am lucky if my calandar is showing the correct month because it has gone by so fast.

    In terms of physics (not that I am a pro a physics or anything), the general definition of time is "the passing of a physical event." That means that if you speed all physical events up, time speeds up. Also, if you stop all physical events, time stops. Perhaps with our ever increasing speed of "life", time, for us, also speeds up.

    I think it is important to think about time in general. Once you realize that it is so very fleeting, you can then make a conscious decision to make the most of it. I know that I will be 40 so very fast. Knowing that, I can make more definate plans about my future in terms in finances, family and even my eventual passing.
     
  11. andrew markworthy

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    A few ideas:
    One explanation is that it's for the same reason that the return journey seems to take less time than the outward leg when you're travelling to somewhere new. When things are a new experience or relatively new, you tend to pay more attention to them, and so there is a greater richness of experience. This makes you think that because a greater number of events have occurred that you've noticed, an appreciable passage of time has passed. As you get more familiar with something, you notice less, the number of events decreases, so you think that time has gone more quickly. Note this is a general rule, and with most things of this type, there are exceptions.
    Another reason is that as you get older, you tend to know what's coming up and you can plan and itemise your life to a much greater extent than when you're young. This again makes time appear to speed up.
    A further reason is that you get better at occupying your time as you get older.
    However, if you want a pretty neat explanation, try:
    http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jmkenney/
     
  12. Jon_B

    Jon_B Screenwriter

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    That work thing sure takes up a lot of my time. [​IMG]
    Jon
     
  13. Mark Leiter

    Mark Leiter Second Unit

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    For all anyone interested in this subject I highly recommend reading Stephen Hawkings’ "A Brief History of Time". A truly fascinating book was Mr. hawkings explains how physicist’s view of how the Universe works.

    One thing he said about time is that time is not a constant, but rather a variable. Each person in fact each particle of matter has a different concept of what time is or exists in its own unique realm of time.

    This was proven in the late 60’s. Scientist took synchronized 2 atomic clocks one they kept in their lab the second they put on one of the Apollo spacecraft going to the moon.

    When the second one got back they compared the two. They found out that the clock going to the moon had slowed down as compared to the one in the lab.

    I don’t have a complete understanding of it myself (that guy is just to dang smart) but it was a cool read.
     
  14. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Trust me, it only gets worse as you get older. Every ten-year-old who thinks the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is unbearably long will eventually become an eighty-year-old who thinks his entire life went by in a flash. In the beginning, we cultivate individual flowers as the seasons come and go. In the end, after having grown familiar with the transitory nature of flowers, we are concerned only with the overall appearance and mood of the garden. Childhood memories of cherished blossoms yield to allow the embrace of memorable seasons. Eventually, as twilight approaches and darkness is cast across the garden, our walk through the garden will seem like but a day. It is then that we realize that we are just like the flowers – our time in the sun is so short.

    What will you feel when your day is done? Remorse? Regret?

    What can you do tomorrow to fill the twilight of your life with joy? The day after that may be too late.
     
  15. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    Great replies guys. Thanks for the link Andrew, a great read. I do understand it better now [​IMG]
     
  16. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    The more I learn, the more I know.

    The more I know, the more I forget.

    The more I forget, the less I know.

    The less I know, the more I learn.
     
  17. Roland Wandinger

    Roland Wandinger Stunt Coordinator

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    I once saw a documentary about this very subject on TV some time ago. It mentioned that we perceive the first 18 years of our life as just as long as the rest of it.

    This is supposed to be due to the fact that we perceive everything as new and that we are in a constand process of learning which makes these years seem to pass ever so slowly.
     

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