Why does the passage of time (getting older) sometimes shock us?


It always happens. You remember a younger sibling or relative having a birthday. Holy smokes, they’re ten?! I remember when they were born, sheesh. And then you go down the rabbit hole of your own feelings, facing the inevitability of our mortal being.

In: Physics


Veritasium made a video on YouTube about how our perception of time is relative to the ‘processing speed’ (general term) of our brain. When we’re younger, our brains work faster, as a result we perceive/think more in a shorter span of time – making time seem slower than, say an older person with slower processing speed who will perceive/think less in the same span of time.

Older people literally overestimated how long a minute was compared to younger people.

Probably only one factor in answering the question that you asked – a lot of it probably has to do with the decompression of significant milestones and the routine nature of older adult life (i.e. Less happens to mark the passage of time).