Monday, February 22, 2010

Time Flies....

Posted by Terry McNichols

I have been pondering the speed at which my life is flying past recently.  Quickly on the heels of the Christmas season we prepared for a trip to El Salvador, took said trip, recovered from same, had out-of-town son and family visit, then I proceeded to get sick for about two weeks, first with a five-day fever and then with a hanging-on cough.  As I look back at the month or six weeks, it appears to have flown by at frightening speed!   Here I am, approaching my 62nd birthday, and I cannot understand where the last 10 years went!  My mother still claims that it was only a year or two ago (she's 84) that she finally realized she was actually old; up until that time she had managed to deny the possibility. 

Where does the time go?  And why does it, in fact, seem to speed up as we get older?  As I was pondering these questions, I heard a delightful segment on NPR about this very topic!  This Home Simpson video was
part of the segment:

Homer Every Day from Noah K. on Vimeo.

But my shortened version of the piece is that the author suggests 3 possibilities.  One is that the brain pulses differently in older people and we lose the ability to measure time.  Our thinking becomes slower and paradoxically it seems that things go by faster.  The second idea is that each year matters more proportionally.  At the age of 6, 2 years equals 1/3 of one's life; at 64, 2 years equals 1/32, therefore the time seems to have passed more quickly.  The final idea is that the brain writes down new experiences in much greater detail than a repeated experience, thus giving the feeling of longer time.  To hear much better explanations of these ideas, do read and listen to the entire piece here! 

Whatever the explanation, time is passing much too quickly for me!
Old Time, in whose banks we deposit our notes
Is a miser who always wants guineas for groats;
He keeps all his customers still in arrears
By lending them minutes and charging them years.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

(Photo by, shared via Flickr)

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