Why Time Seems to Pass Faster as We Get Older
As we grow older, periods of our lives diminish as a ratio to our entire life span. Here is an easy-to-understand explanation.
The question that's asked most often by senior citizens is why does time seem to go quicker as we grow older.
Actually it's not moving faster as we get older. Time is an illusion that we use to maintain our sanity, and more importantly, to schedule our life events with others.
Nevertheless, the illusion of time does seem to go by faster. Why is that? It has to do with ratios, as I'll explain.
Time Is Measured as a Ratio
After giving a lot of thought to this, and applying mathematics in a simple form, I have determined that our experience of time speeding up is due to a ratio change. Allow me to explain with an example.
When we grow up from, say, five years old until we are ten, we doubled our age. We feel that an awful lot of time had gone by. After all, we just doubled our age. Wow!
Then when we continue through life from ten to twenty, once again we doubled our age. But wait! What's different? That prior period was just five years. Now all of a sudden it was ten years!
Now consider aging twenty to forty. Yep, we doubled our age again, but where is the time going? This time twenty years shot by!
Every time we double my age, twice as many years have gone by since the last time. This is the ratio effect.
We think of the last phase as the same length of time. However, that phase is twice the length of time as the previous phase of our lives.
This is not a glitch of time. It's a misinterpretation imposed by the way we think.
The Flow of Time
If you're curious to know more about time, read on as I share some thoughts with you.
I studied physics as a minor in college, and have continued with an interest ever since. However, I tend to take things to another level, thinking outside the box.
With that in mind, I examine the mysterious phenomena of time. This discussion is for those who find it interesting to contemplate natural and physical laws of the universe, as we understand them today.
Of all the experiences we have in our human lives, I find that the flow of time is the least understood. There is so much to consider. Such as:
- Could there be a start and an end to time?
- Is time consistent?
In its simplest form, time can be considered to be a linear flow from the past to the future. It can also be thought of as the fourth dimensional space, through which the first three dimensions of our physical world flows.
Our three-dimensional world is defined as length, width and height. You can move in any direction through this space. Now take that, and think of it as moving along another line. That line represents time - as the fourth dimension.
Now with that said, I have to ask you one question:
If we can move in any direction through the first three dimensions, then why can’t we move in any direction through the fourth dimension?
Yes, you understood me correctly. I’m talking about traveling through time.
The Implicit Steady Measure of Time
We can think of time as a continuous flow of our physical world as it advances in a forward direction.
This interpretation of time gives us the ability to comprehend a form of reality that has a direction and a speed that should be stable and consistent. However, is it really?
What if time, itself, has glitches? What if it hiccups, so to say, and has episodes of stalling or even repeating segments from the past.
Could this actually happen? Is this when we experience déjà vu, or is that all in our minds?
If our reality were referenced within the movement of time, then any fluctuations or glitches would never be noticed. Since we exist within our own world of time and space, our reference point is meaningless.
We'd have to be observing our world from outside of our four dimensions in order to observe what really is happening. From that vantage point we would be able to see, and measure, the actual changes taking place.
So for us, as we continue to exist in the timeframe of our own existence, we have no notion of the true phenomena of time.
We simply have our own definition that we made up in order to have some form of sanity while getting along with others in our constantly changing physical world.
What I mean by that is that we need to pinpoint specific sections on the timeline to coincide a planned meeting with a friend for dinner or to attend a business meeting. Without that, we would never be able to coordinate our efforts to work together.
The Acceleration of Time
So all this seems to work quite well for us, but what about the issue we all have with the feeling that time goes faster as we get older?
Time can't really be going faster, can it? If it had been changing it’s pace since the beginning of time, then where would this acceleration end?
If this were indeed happening, I'd say that we would never know it. The reason is the same as what I mentioned earlier. We are in our own reference of time and, as long as we are within it, any changes to its speed or direction would be completely unnoticed.
An example will make this clear:
Imagine you are in a moving train. As it changes speed and direction, you continue to enjoy the trip in the confined world of the train's interior without any actual consideration of the changes taking place with the rest of the world. In your confined world within that train, time is still moving forward and your life is advancing at a constant speed.
Time Slows Down the Faster One Moves
My final thought is a little more technical, but it's an interesting law of physics.
We can't ever go faster than the speed of light because mass becomes infinite at the speed of light. Time becomes meaningless when traveling at the speed of light, so it actually would not take much time to get wherever we're going.
Mathematically, Einstein found that time slows down the faster one moves. Scientists have since proven his theory by carrying an atomic clock in an airplane and comparing it to another atomic clock on earth that had been kept stable.
However, that’s all relative because the clock on earth was traveling at 1000 miles per hour since that's how fast the earth is rotating.
When Einstein was young, his wife had complained when they were having sex that it was over so fast. Einstein said to her, "It's all relative."