Ever had anyone tell you that the years are getting shorter, or are going faster? Have you ever said it yourself?
When you think about it, there is actually a very basic reason why this seems the case, and it’s got nothing to do with advanced physics, temporal mechanics, or anything along those lines.
It’s all to do with percentages.
Consider for instance, what a year was like when you were 4 years old. It was, quite honestly, a bloody long time – a quarter of your life. At 4, a year was taking 25% of your life to date to pass you by. In the scale of accumulated memories and experiences, a quarter of your life to date is a very long time indeed.
Jump forward to when you were 10 – at that point a year was a tenth of your life. Still long enough, but with the benefit of further memories and more experiences, it didn’t seem quite as long.
Now you’re twenty – a year is just a twentieth of your life to date.
Thirty – it’s just one thirtieth of your life to date.
I’m now 37 – so a year to me represents just one thirty-seventh of my life experiences thus far – there really is no joking to the saying “the years are going faster”. In fact, the older you get, the faster those years are indeed going. My grandmother turned 90 last month – she’s at the point where sometimes it must seem that years are come and gone in the blink of an eye.
If you graph it, the truth becomes abundantly obvious:
It’s no wonder that with each passing year we think the years are passing faster – when we consider the length of a year against the length of our lives, each year does indeed pass faster and faster, until they seem a blur.
It’s certainly better than the alternative!