eli5: Why does it feel like time goes by faster the more we age?

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2022 is almost over 🤔

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When you are 5, 1 year is a fifth of your life.

When you are 20, 1 year is a twentieth of your life.

1 year is a smaller and smaller portion of your life as you age. The speed of time is relative to the amount of time you have existed.

It’s a hindsight thing.

When you’re 10, one year is 10% of your life, which feels like a lot. However, the older you get, the smaller that percentage gets. So in hindsight, the past year feels shorter than it did when we were young.

And then there’s also the perspective side. Time flies when you’re having fun, because you don’t pay attention to time as much as when you’re bored. Age isn’t much of a factor in the perspective side.

I think it has to do with experiences.

As you grow older less new experiences take place thus making time spent not memorable.

Imagine that time is like a road, and we’re traveling down it at a constant speed. When we are young, the road seems long and winding, with many twists and turns that make it feel like we are moving slowly. But as we age, the road seems to straighten out and become shorter, so we feel like we are moving much faster. This is why time seems to go by faster as we age – we are still traveling at the same speed, but the road feels shorter and less interesting.