Fast Time and the Aging Mind

John Gruber linked to this article from the New York Time on our perception of time as we age:

Here’s a possible answer: think about what it’s like when you learn something for the first time — for example how, when you are young, you learn to ride a bike or navigate your way home from school. It takes time to learn new tasks and to encode them in your memory. And when you are learning about the world for the first time, you are forming a fairly steady stream of new memories of events, places and people.

My grandfather, who died two years ago at age 93, used to say that things moved faster when you are older because it is, in fact, actually less of your life. When we are 2 going on 3, that’s 33% of our lives but when we are 49 going on 50, that’s only 2%. This came from a man who decided to learn the computer at age 85. So I think it is reasonable to assume that the article’s author is more accurate than my grandfather on this one.

3 thoughts on “Fast Time and the Aging Mind

  1. Actually, your grandfather’s observation makes much more sense to me than the author of the article in the NYT, which seemed like an overly complicated explanation, whereas your grandfather’s reason passes the simple “common sense” test.

  2. Hi,

    Interesting alternative take from your grandfather, but I’m not quite following why it’s reasonable to assume the author of that article is more accurate than your grandfather. Am I missing a conclusion that is being drawn from the sentence “This came from a man who decided to learn the computer at age 85”?

    • He was a life-long learner was all I meant, someone who fits the description of the article. I turn 40 this year, my kids are both now in elementary school, and time flies by too fast. The idea of “slowing down time” and how to do it and the research the surrounds that is very interesting. I remember time being slow as a kid partly because school was so boring. And time definitely passes slowly when one is bored! But I’m not certain that time really did move any faster or slower then than it does now.

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