In a conversation with a friend yesterday, we shared our amazement on how time has flown by. Once upon a time, we were 18 and now we are in our late twenties. How did the years go by?
It’s a similar story for many. “Thank God it’s Friday” we say, followed five or six minutes later by “Man, where did the weekend go!”
It’s a phenomenon that seems to get worse as we get older; unfortunately for one sad Reddit user, u/Ed_Wretch, time is speeding up a little too early in life:
“I’m still relatively young, early 20s, but I’ve noticed that the years have started to pass by me with increasingly alarming speeds.Is there anything I can do to slow things down? It’s giving me a fuckin existential crisis.”
To make time slow down, many Redditors said, try seeking out new experiences:
- “Shaking things up and doing something different gives you more memories, which make the years seem longer when you look back on them.” (u/rogueqd)
- “The reason why it feels so fast is because when you’re young you have more new experiences and your mind takes more time to save and remember them. Now that you’re older there aren’t as many new things in your life.” (u/boepoepie)
- “The more sensory diverse experiences you have, the slower time will seem. Novel experiences are probably what have the biggest effect. So do a lot of diverse and new things as much as you can.” (u/vb_nm)
- “If you want life to be worth remembering then you have to do things worth remembering. This does NOT mean constant party and vacations and time with family. Those will quickly bleed into each other as well. It means constant self-challenge and growth. Growth necessarily involves de facto new experience (as repetition for the sake of growth involves seeing the same thing with new eyes). Learn a sport. Learn math and physics. Take on hard projects in life. Live in new places.” (u/OphioukhosUnbound)
They’re right. According to Scientific American, as we age, our lives become more routine. We experience fewer unfamiliar moments than we did in our early years, which makes the memories of our early years overrepresented in our memory.
The reason? Our brain encodes new experiences, but not familiar ones, into memory, and our retrospective judgment of time is based on how many new memories we create over a certain period. In other words, the more new memories we build on a weekend getaway, the longer that trip will seem in hindsight.
How do you combat this? keeping your brain active by continually learning skills and ideas, exploring new places and engaging in new activities.