Time Flies When You’re Not Having Fun

A day after my birthday last week, I came across an article, ironically, titled ‘Why Does Time Go Faster As We Get Older?‘ by Philip Yaffe, in which the author contemplates:

It seems as if there is never enough time to get everything done and that the situation only gets worse.

It is a widely accepted adage that, “The older you get, the faster time seems to go.” But why should aging have this effect? After all, there is the parallel adage that, “Time flies when you are having fun.” But as we age, time flies whether we are having fun or not.

I’m roughly half of Philip’s age, and I haven’t accumulated as many milestones, hence my take on the passage of time is a little different.

I have more fonder memories of my childhood than the last 5 years. As a kid, I had several new experiences, like us all in our childhood. The first few bicycle rides, or learning Sanskrit in school, or those late night swim’s, were all enriching. By those measures, I should be learning to sail a boat by now, should have learnt a foreign language, and I should have continued swimming. But I’m a bit too busy for it all these days (or so I say), which consequently means lowered experiences. I take time out for recreation, but it’s not as voluntary, or as enriching, as during childhood or teenage.

I feel that a faster passage of time is largely experienced between 20 to 50 years of age, but not by everyone. This is also the time-period when individuals are generally the busiest in their lives. When you are busy, you’ll find less time for new experiences. Limited changes in [often monotonous] surroundings during this time will result in fewer memories. This perception of ‘motion-lapse’ may well make it seem that time is passing faster. Time flies when you are not having as much fun.

However, this is just a hypothesis. As Philip added in his explanation:

We are all born to die. What happens after that is the subject of considerable controversy. But whatever it is, we are certain it is going to happen, and that it will almost certainly be different from whatever we know today.

What really drives us to live is as much a mystery as after-death.

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