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Why Time Goes Faster as You Get Older

Clock1I can't believe we are about to enter the last month of 2011...where did the year go?

As I strive each day for work life balance, each year seems to go by faster and faster. When November hit, I found myself saying, "Didn't I just eat turkey a few months ago?!?"  As Ronald E. Riggio,  points out in his Psychology Today blog: You remember in vivid detail your childhood Christmases, but now they rush by year after year without making much of an impression. What's going on?

His explanation: the early years are full of first-time events - your first date, the birth of your first child, that first big vacation. First occasions are novel events and we tend to make more detailed and lasting memories of those first times. When we repeat the event, year after year, it is less likely to make a unique or lasting impression.

Riggio points out that this doesn't just happen with life events, it also happens with short-term events.For instance, the first couple of days of your 2-week vacation seem long and leisurely, and the time goes slowly. You're thankful that you have two long weeks of this. But, the next thing you know, it's almost over and you are heading home!

So as we head into a new year, here are a few ways to slow down the pace of life (at least psychologically):

1. As much as possible, take advantage of new and unique experiences. When we go to the same places and do the same things, we don't make distinct memories and time seems to fly by. This year, I'm going to do some of those things on my bucket list. Will you?

2. Focus on positive (rather than negative) past memories. Trying to live more in the present, and hold a positive perception of the future - envisioning a future full of hope and optimism.  (So you didn't get to some of those things on your goal list in 2011. Don't dwell on it. What cool, fun goals can you put on your list in 2012?)

3.  Consider keeping a journal. Even though you're about to celebrate New Year's again, there probably events in 2011 worth remembering. Along with personal experiences, you might want to include observations. I think one reason time speeds up is our memory isn't as good as we get older and days blur.

Do you feel like 2011 flew by fast? Did you get caught up in the day to day of juggling work and your personal life and forget to make new memories and enjoy the moment? Will you do anything differently next year?

 

Comments

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John Zulueta

This is a great article.

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