Feeling Like Time Goes By Faster Lately? Here’s Why?

Do you ever get the realization that time somehow goes by faster as you age? If you do, you’re not alone as physics and the lockdown may have the answer to that.

Our perception of time shifts constantly and also dependent on the activities we partake in and also on how much rest we get. Research done by Duke University mechanical engineering professor, Adrian Bejan, uses physics to explain the changing senses of time and why years seem to go by faster the older we get.

The mind’s eye

Each of us have our own “mind time” that is unrelated to the passing of hours, days, years and clocks, which is all effected by the amount of time we rest and other factors. These changes in factors give us a sense of time’s passage, as he writes:

“The present is different from the past because the mental viewing has changed, not because somebody’s clock rings. The “clock time” that unites all the live flow systems, animate and inanimate, is measurable. The day-night period lasts 24 hours on all watches, wall clocks and bell towers. Yet, physical time is not mind time. The time that you perceive is not the same as the time perceived by another.”

Time goes by with the mind’s eye, it is related to the number of mental images the brain encounters and organizes and the state of our brains as we age. 

The rate of which these images are perceived decreases because of the transforming physical features such as vision, brain complexity and later in life, the degradation of pathways that information is transmitted at. This shift allows us to perceive as if time is sped up.

Time spent in lockdown

Young man wearing pyjamas with feet up on desk using computer

You’ve made fewer memories than usual in a week and time seems to have disappeared. Since most of us spend our lives in one location, time spent at home is different than time spent in the outside world. 

When you take dozens of Zoom calls in a week all from the same setting, everything can start merging into one when compared in real llife where everyone would be meeting with each other at a number of different places. When we look back on the time of coronavirus, it might be hard to delineate different parts of our months in lockdown.

Because of the lack of other markers in time, once lockdown had begun we might find the weeks hard to differentiate, hence, time passing by as if your days didn’t happen.

We create our own subjective experience of time in our minds and it doesn’t always match up with reality and what we read on the clock or the calendar. A 20-minute lunch with a friend goes by in a flash, while a 20-minute wait for a delayed train can feel unending, yet in reality of course the duration is both in fact, 20 minutes.

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