Time is weird. I’m going to use a Steve Martin quote, from the movie The Jerk: “I know we’ve only known each other for four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days. The first day seemed like a week. The second day seemed like five days, and the third day seemed like a week again, and the fourth day seemed like eight days…”
You get the idea without seeing the entire quote, right?
If time wasn’t weird, science fiction authors (like me) wouldn’t write about time travel so much. It’s just weird. How many people have you heard say that time seems to be passing faster as they get older? Everyone says that, except for babies. Obviously, time doesn’t really pass faster when we get older. If it did, old people would be way out in the future and young people would be stuck in the past.
It’s more about perception. For example, my 63rd year seems like 213 days, and my 64th year will seem like 189 days, and my 65th year will seem like 151 days, and… you get the idea.
Why do we have this perception? To understand this, I’ll refer to Psychology Today, which uses a camera, film, projector, and movie as metaphors to represent visual memory. Consider the frames in a movie. If the camera captures more frames per second, and you play it back at a standard rate of 20 frames per second, the picture seems to be in slow motion. If the camera captures fewer frames per second, and you play it back at the same 20 frames per second, the picture appears faster than real life.
Here’s the kicker… as we age, the visual part of our brain captures fewer visual images per unit of time. We simply have fewer visual images of what is happening around us. Therefore, we have fewer visual memories to draw from as we think about recent events. More actual time passes between the perception of each new mental image. When children remember things, they have more visual images of those events, therefore it seems like those events took longer.
Now I understand why I used to always say, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
- Daughter, mother, grandmother with hourglass - DepositPhotos
Everyone needs a creative outlet. That's why I write.