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Why Does Time Pass More Quickly as We Get Older?

Growing up, hearing the phrase ‘time goes more quickly as you get older’ is an almost universal experience. This poses the question, what is the cause of this feeling, and is there any way to prevent it?


As children, adults often tell us to enjoy our youth because time starts to fly by as we age.

For most, this starts to become the case as our birthdays seem more regular, and it feels like a year is hardly any time at all. What causes this peculiar sensation, and do we have any control over it?

What Are The Theories?

Some of this can be attributed to having fewer new experiences as we age. A sense of routine, whatever that might be, causes our perception of time to become distorted. As much of our time is spent doing the same thing, such as work, the memories are merged in our minds. The days blur into weeks and the weeks into months.

While the passage of time itself does not change, our psychology does. How we perceive time is responsible for the phenomenon of time passing more quickly.

A common comparison to the feeling of time passing more quickly as you get older is the sensation of the journey back from somewhere seemingly passing more quickly than on the way there. This is because the way back is familiar by that point, so we are less observant. Being observant and present in the moment gives the illusion that time is passing more slowly, and this is one of the best ways to mentally ‘slow down’ the passage of time.


What’s The Science Behind it?

How we view time is subjective, and the idea of it speeding up with age is not the case for everyone. However, it is a very common experience which is why it has sparked the attention of scientists and psychologists.

Harvard University Professor Adrian Bejan argues that the progression of our neurology and the way we process things more slowly as we get older is partially responsible for the phenomenon.


“People are often amazed at how much they remember from days that seemed to last forever in their youth. It’s not that their experiences were much deeper or more meaningful, it’s just that they were being processed in rapid fire” he said.

How Can We ‘Slow Down’ Time?

There is both a psychological and a biological dimension to our perception of time. It starts with our physiology and how our neurology declines over time. This, in turn, impacts how we perceive the world around us.

As Einstein once said, time is relative. We have the power to alter our own perception of time. Think about the idea that time flies when having fun. This is because we are distracted and not paying attention to the passage of time. While having fun and not obsessing over the notion of time is a good thing, it also means that taking time to be present in the moment can help us to slow things down.

Pay attention to your surroundings, learn what distracts you, indulge in new experiences, and practice mindfulness and meditation. These are just a few strategies to slow down time and maintain a childlike wonder of the world while you’re at it.

For more: are memory booster supplements actually effective?

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Digital Copywriter, Journalist, and Multimedia Content Executive.

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