“And then one day you find ten years have got behind you, no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”
There can be no doubt that our perception of time accelerates as we get older — things that used to feel like long periods of time suddenly fly by as we feel that we’re accelerating toward death. While we don’t know the precise causes of this phenomenon, a website created by Maximilian Kiener uses an interactive timeline to give us some understanding of why things just keep speeding up the more we age.
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“Have you ever noticed that older people keep mentioning that time keeps moving faster and faster?” the website asks in its introduction. “It’s because we perceive time relative to the ‘absolute’ time we can compare it to… When you are four weeks old, a week is a quarter of your life, by the end of your first year, it is just a fiftieth of your life.”
As we keep getting older in life, a year becomes a fairly short period of time, then a decade, then two decades. By the end, it all just flies by.
The website features a special timeline, which LifeHacker informs us is based on a theory by philosopher Paul Janet, that shows how long it takes to pass through a given year relative to our perception of time as a whole. So it takes you a long time to scroll down through one year, then a shorter time to get through the second year, and even shorter time for the third year and so on. By the time you hit your middle ages, you’re plowing through one or two years per scroll.