When I hear people say that time passes more quickly now that they’re older than what it did when they were kids, I wonder what they mean by that. It’s a strange comment to make especially in light of the fact that time is measured in the same way pretty much all over the world. So why is it that some people feel that time clips now that they’re adults than it did when they were children?
C. S. Lewis once wrote: “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” No one can argue with that, can they? Perhaps it’s perception then, that causes some adults to feel the way they do about the passage of time.
I had a remarkable discussion with one of my best friends on this very subject just a few weeks ago. Over the course of our discussion, he stated that such comments are, in his opinion, tied almost entirely to perception and if we see it from that perspective, it’s easy to understand why time passes more quickly as we grow older.
When you’re 5 years old, you’ve lived a whopping 60 months! If you have to wait a whole year for your 6th birthday, that seems like forever. After all, it’s as long as 20% of the life you’ve already lived and that’s a pretty big percentage! But if you’re 50 years old, having lived an impressive 600 months, that whole year between your 50th birthday and your 51st birthday is just 2% of the life you’ve already lived.
As an adult, you can see how 20% is a whole lot bigger than 2%. Twenty percent of 50 years is 10 years! Imagine if you had to wait 10 years for your next birthday party, your next birthday cake, your next birthday present. You might feel as if you would NEVER get to your 51st birthday because it would was so far away!
Maybe it’s time for people to stop lamenting what they misbelieve they haven’t got … time. Maybe it’s time for people to start making the most of every minute of every day they’re alive, just as we did when we were children when we packed hours and hours and hours of excitement and learning into every single waking hour.
I have a sneaky suspicion if adults liked life in a more childlike fashion, there wouldn’t be too many adults complaining about how quickly time passes. They’d be too focused on all the good things in life and making the most of everything in it.
What I think would be great fun for those of you who are reading this blog, is to turn off the computer and pull out a game of Kerplunk! or find that Etch-A-Sketch that’s hiding in the bottom of your child’s toy chest or read that Dr. Seuss book that’s just sitting on the bookshelf gathering dust. Give yourself permission to be little again and see how quickly you feel refreshed, alive and rejuvenated.
You may not be able to go back in time and recapture what are thought of as wasted minutes, but you can certainly learn how to be young at heart again and make each minute seem like it’s stretching forever before getting to the next minute.