Why does it feel like life goes by faster in adulthood than in childhood or adolescence? Does the time pass faster as you get older?
As a child, the days and nights seem infinitely long, especially before the sixth, seventh, or eighth birthday. But as an adult, you don’t longingly wait for birthdays. The higher the numbers on the birthday cake, the faster the years seem to go by.
This perception is quite normal and widespread, does time pass faster as you get older? The individual sense of time is directly related to memory. At least that’s what most researchers assume. Above all, the assessment of long periods of time is related to memories, which in turn come from memory.
Psychology has been able to prove with numerous studies that the more memory content someone has available for a certain period of time, the longer the time appears to them. Children and young people have plenty of learning experiences every day. Time is packed with new things. Life is perceived intensely and therefore perceived as long.
When adults are in the balance of everyday life with a lot of routines and a lot of repetitions and nothing special happens during this time, time goes by quickly and you hardly remember it in retrospect. If, on the other hand, many new, exciting things happen, then in retrospect one perceives the time more intensely and thus also as longer. Numerous things and feelings during this particular time are then present in the memory. But even in varied adult life, there are repetitions and routines over the years.
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Emotions Make Life Longer – Why does time speed up as we age?
Emotional memories, in particular, are particularly important in terms of time perception because they are stored particularly deeply. The first kiss is an easy to understand example of this. The event is exciting and emotionally charged so that it can be remembered fairly accurately for a long time, sometimes even a lifetime.
So it can happen that the first kiss is actually perceived as half an eternity. The 1000th kiss, on the other hand, is no longer so exciting and therefore you couldn’t say when it was and how long it felt unless it is the first kiss with a new love and thus something exciting again outside of the box any routine happens.
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It is therefore not surprising that in children and young people who do or learn many things for the first time at this age, the years seem to be considerably longer than in adults. In fact, the majority of adults perceive the years as getting shorter with increasing age, but not until the end of their lives.