Years are getting shorter

April 26, 2015

Short years

Don’t they?

I got a text the other day from a 40-something mom I know whose daughter was about to turn 17.  She said:

“I always say about raising kids that days are long, years are short!”

My response was that at this age, I notice that days are short, weeks are also short and years are even shorter. Way shorter. They zoom by.  Don’t you agree? It seems like time just flies by now, and I’m not certain why it should feel any different now.

I recently read something that explained it this way:

When we’re young, say five years old, one year passing represents 20 percent of our life so it seems like a long time.  At 50, one year represents 2 percent of our life.So the same time span relative to our life experience seems much longer when we’re younger than when we’re older.

Did you get that?

My husband has a tweak on that. It goes as follows:  take the years from 18-22, when we are in college. Those four years are a whole stage of our life with discrete elements that we work through. There is a beginning and end that we can measure.

But from 65 to 69 is not a distinct span– no discrete units–we’re not moving from one stage to another. Time just flows together without individual milestones or elements. That makes it feel faster.

These are concepts that muddle my brain. All I know is that years are getting shorter at this age and time seems to be speeding by, faster than ever.

So what do you think? Do you agree with either of these takes or do you have one of your own?

19 comments on “Years are getting shorter
  1. Diane says:

    I just know that the days are WAY shorter now then they were when I was young. Ten months between summer vacations took forever. A year between Christmases and birthdays was an eternity! And now? Yikes.
    Theories muddle my brain, too. Yep. I’m going with the muddled brain theory.

  2. Lynn Cash says:

    Lately I have been thinking a lot about childhood and what a huge influence it has on our lives, yet how short it really is. I seem to be fixated on that right now. It is strange. But I agree with you AND your husband. The years seem to be spiraling faster and faster and faster. (It is almost dizzying.) Each year is a shorter segment of the whole, which makes the discrete chunks more memorable–childhood and college in particular, because they were so influential on our formation. But there are other chunks, too, such as (for me) law school (I went in my 30s, after I had been out of college for 10 years) and my son’s childhood (he is an only child, so that period is very clearly defined–also, he is turning 25 on Tuesday and that milestone is somewhat freaking me out). Without the “chunks,” life is like the water in a river of water that just flows and ends up in the ocean with no distinguishing characteristics. For perspective, I am in my mid-60s and totally get and agree with what you said.

  3. I find the days and weeks seem to melt into the next. Without a work schedule with other people expecting you to show up, there are no parameters. I’ve been working from home for years, but now that my husband is retired and we’re both home it’s a lot different. I miss my days alone sometimes, but we’re adapting. It’s hard to feel the years are flying by when we can’t get out of this damn winter from hell.

  4. Jennifer says:

    They are whipping past so fast nothing stands out but the holidays. Sort of bleak if I think about to because these are “the best years of our lives”!
    When we lived in a rural, very quiet but boring community, it felt like time crawled by. Maybe I should move back there!

  5. I love thinking about things like this! My neighbor Eva, who lived to be 105, said the escalation of the passing of time continues. That is a bit frightening. Living in the moment, learning new things, and wonderment are somehow involved too.

  6. Pat says:

    Fascinating ideas on the passage of time. I find that though some days feel longer than ever, each year passes more quickly than before.

  7. I read somewhere that our growing up years seemed so long because we were learning and doing so many different things. And that one way to slow down time is to try and continue to learn and do new things. Don’t know if it works, but I do know that if I’m doing the same thing day after day, everything just kind of blends together and I wonder where the time went.
    And thanks for stopping by my blog. Nice to meet you!

  8. It really is scary how fast the time goes. I try to be in the moment as much as possible, but it seems that I blink and another week has whizzed by. This past winter seemed endless, but in retrospect the months passed in a flash. My husband and I recently celebrated 20 years together, and it simply doesn’t seem possible…two decades??? I think that it does have something to do with having fewer years left, actuarially speaking, and so the time we do have feels that much more precious. We must savor it.

  9. Keriann McKenna says:

    I have to agree the time flies by, week in and week out, and sometimes I have to look at my calendar to realize where the month went. Then another birthday rolls around and I wonder where the year went.

    I think working from home makes a difference too. There is no schedule or if there is, it’s one I control–usually.

    I don’t know if I agree with your husband’s theory; I’ll have to give it some thought. There is a unit of time when I’m editing and the edit of a second book often begins immediately thereafter. I’m coming up on five books (including one of my own) that will spam over 3-4 months time. It took me two years to write, edit and publish two books, with the edits of other author’s books mixed in. Somehow, at my age, I don’t recall that time as moving any slower.

    I often wonder if it’s because everything is faster now. We do everything faster than we once did…drive, communicate, shop, etc. We have technology and this conversation, which would have taken several letters back and forth, will immediately be posted in two seconds. And, is there any such thing as Slow Food these days? Is the day blocked out into segments? Not here it isn’t. Lunch is whenever I realize I’m hungry mid-afternoon and I throw a sandwich together and eat it in front of my computer screen.

    When I try to think of when a day last went by slowly (in recent times) I recall Easter. I cooked dinner for my family, something I rarely do as they are all grown. We lingered and talked until dusk. That day did not go by fast and was thoroughly enjoyable. I never touched my computer. Maybe I should have computer days and non-computer days. Maybe I’d get more housework done. Maybe I’d take the time to go visit someone and talk face to face.

    I guess I don’t have the answer either but it feels like I’m on a high speed train racing toward the end of my life and I don’t like it one bit.

  10. Brenda Silbernage says:

    I can understand and empathize with anyone on this subject, of time flying, and how the days turn to weeks and weeks to months and so forth. I get it, but knowing that and realizing how fleeting our life’s journey really is, gives us food for thought and reflection both on the present and future. I feel gratitude in everything I do, relationships I make, and continue on a daily basis working on quality time and not quantity. We do not get the choice on how to leave this world, only how we want to live it in the time frame we have chosen, back when, you know, before we were born and worked out all that lesson learning shenanigans in soul school.

  11. Both ideas make a lot of sense. Wherever it’s going I wish it would just slow down a little bit!

  12. Myke Todd says:

    I don’t think I have ever felt as old as I did yesterday, when my middle child, a daughter, turned 30 years old. And, I cannot come to grips with why that is the case. But, I am working on it.

  13. Haralee says:

    Unless it is at the dentist, then time stands still!

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