The Internet at the Speed of Thought

Time Flies as You Get Older. Here’s Why.

at 3:41 pm | By

Seems Like Only Yesterday…

Do you ever stop and wonder where the time’s gone? You’re not alone.

As we get older, time only seems to go faster. Between work, our families, and mundane daily duties that make it easy to turn on autopilot, weeks fly by from Monday to Friday and Monday again, and our months and years are only speckled with truly memorable occasions if we’re lucky.

So why does time fly by so quickly? And is there anything we can do to slow it back down?

time flies Brian A Jackson 1

Source: Shutterstock/ Brian A Jackson

According to these psychologists, not all hope is lost.

Thanks for the Memories.

time flies Laura Lee Cobb

Source: Shutterstock/ Laura Lee Cobb

For over a hundred years, psychologists have tried to encapsulate just what makes time seem to speed by as we grow older. In his 1890 work Principles of Psychology, psychologist William James concluded that adulthood seems to move faster because it is filled with fewer memorable events.

According to James, we measure our life in major events such as “firsts” (first day of school, first kiss, first job), so that once the new experiences stop happening, typically in adulthood, “the days and weeks smooth themselves out… and the years grow hollow and collapse.”

Further Studies

time flies Brian A Jackson

Credit: Shutterstock/ Brian A Jackson

Other studies from across the 20th and 21st centuries continued to try and pinpoint the onset of this phenomenon. In the 1960s, Wallach and Green found that older people (with a mean age of 71 years) were more likely to pick time metaphors that stressed speed (such as “time is a speeding train”) while younger people (aged 18-20) picked more static metaphors.