The older you get, the faster each year gets away. November hits when it should be August, and you catch yourself thinking that an event happened “a year or two ago” only to realize it hit the traps during the Clinton Administration.
Sure, each successive year is a smaller fraction of your accumulated total. And as you rely on the same routines and subroutines, the interval between novel experiences lengthens. But even adding the parabolically dizzying accelerant of technological change to these linear progressions doesn’t yield a satisfactory explanation.
Thus armed with lazy assumptions about subjective temporal acceleration, I stumbled across the following paragraph in a review of The Velocity of Honey and More Science of Everyday Life by Jay Ingram:
My favorite psychology chapter is one that asks why, as we get older, the years seem to go by faster and faster. Carefully designed experiments suggest there is actually an explanation for this annoying impression. As we age, our biological clocks run slower and, since our clocks are running slower, the world seems to speed up. Depressing as this may be for those of us long past the subjective midpoint of our lives (which turns out to be about 20 for someone who lives to be 80), it could be worse. Ingram describes a man with a brain tumor that affected his biological clock who quit driving and watching television because traffic seemed to be rushing at him at an incomprehensible speed and television nattered on faster than he could follow.
A subjective midpoint of twenty – think about that. Do you know where you’re going in the time you have left?