Does Time Accelerate?

I follow Lydia Oyetunji blogs on Live…Love….Share!!! ( and on a recent post, “Where In the World is Lydia”, she discussed finding your balance of time management for family, work, and your writing. I commented, before I retired, I anticipated time, would slow down. In reality, I was experiencing just the opposite. I have to manage my time more now than when I worked.

So why is it that the older we get, the faster our days, weeks, and yes, years seem to go. Does it happen or is it a mindset? For most of my career, I was an accountant. We bean counters look at the world different from others. Things are black or white, or right or wrong.
Looking for my right or wrong, black or white answer, it disappointed me  when I did not find one. Yet, I did find some interesting conceptual theories about time. I will let you decide if they make sense or if you even buy into the theory time accelerates, as we get older.

I found the word chronophobia, and it means, the anxiety of passage of time. For some, the anxiety is when time slows to a crawl. An example is prison inmates or the individual suffering from depressions who withdraw. The opposite is when the anxiety caused from fearing time passing too fast. For instance, the terminal ill patient recognizes the end of their life is approaching.

The above is the extreme. Yet we all have experienced either the sluggishness or the acceleration of time. Remember back when you were a kid waiting for Christmas? It seemed like it would never get here. Then when it did, the day, and the holiday vacation were over before you knew it, and you were back in school. Even as an adult, milestones such as, your first child, or your retirement seem off into the future. Although once achieved, they recede into our past.

We have heard the expression, “Time flies when we are having fun”; but did it? While enjoying something we love, it feels as if it is over too fast. In contrast, boredom seems to make time drag.

How about the expression, “Time stood still”. One example is sitting in a doctor’s waiting room. You sit there watching the clock and it feels as if the hands of the clock have stopped.

I will admit when I was young, I experimented using drugs. Some drugs, I perceived time slowed down, while others time quickened. Have you ever had surgery and given a general anesthesia? My experience seemed it was only seconds between falling asleep and awakening. Yet, several hours had expired.

Researchers have told us that our perception of time are related to who we are. Time moves faster for individuals who are spontaneous and live in the present moment. People who are the opposite, for them, time moves slower.

Back to the question, does time pass quicker as we get older. Experts say when we are young, we experience more new things. We pay more attention to these experiences, thus time expands. As we age, our new experiences diminish and we pay less attention to the repeated experiences. Thus, time seems to pass faster. Research also found people in their 20s are pretty accurate at guessing an interval of 3 minutes. While people in their 60s overestimate it.

When I was in my late fifties, and I began actually planning my retirement, it seemed so far off. Although, I did not have enough time to meet my financial goals. When I looked at myself, I had a successful career, and I was a leader among my peers. I remember thinking there were so much more I wanted to do and there was not enough time to get it accomplished.

My schedule while working was, up at 6 AM, work by 8 o’clock, home by 7 o’clock, and to bed by 11:30. This was Monday through Friday. Saturday morning, it was golf with my buddies, lunch, and a couple of beers. Saturday night was social night, either dinner out, at friends, or at our home. Sunday morning was going to church services. My weeks rarely varied from the above.

Now I am retired for five years. I get up in the morning when I want and go to bed in the evening when I feel tired. I have no dead lines or work schedules. Then why do I keep an appointment schedule on my iPhone and refer to each morning and night?

Oh yes, here is my schedule now; Monday is laundry day. I have men’s golf league on Tuesday. Wednesday I meet with the Home Owner’s Association. Thursday is golf with my husband or good friend. Friday is house cleaning. Saturday I volunteer for feeding the homeless at our church. Of course, Sunday is going to church services and coffee hour after. Sometime between this, I have doctor appointments, errands, home projects, and social events.

For me, I am busier now than before my retirement, even though, my schedule seems just as restricted. At work, I was confined to the office eight – nine hours a day, and now I am always on the go. The number of friends and my social activity has multiplied. I have to make time for personal and writing time.

I do not look at my life as being so different from other retirees. My friends as I do, have to look at our schedules first before we commit to dinner or golf. Sunday mornings, I feel like it was just yesterday I was getting ready for church. Where did my week go?

Now you are the judge, does time go faster the older we get?


Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” —Albert Einstein

4 Replies to “Does Time Accelerate?”

  1. Loved this article. TIME is truly relative – and science has shown that how we perceive it is a factor of interest and novelty. I just back-edited an article to link to this post. It begins with a bit of info on that time perception idea [Beyond the Limitations of a Post-It Note™ Brain]. Check it out.

    btw – THANK YOU for your SERVICE. (My uncle practiced in San Antonio following his service as an Army surgeon during Viet Nam. My brother and father were AF pilots. Long line of men in uniforms in my family — all the way back to the Civil War.)

    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

  2. Thank you for your gracious comment and for following me. I too was a military brat with my dad serving over 30 years. Perhaps some of your family might enjoy my book. My apologies, but I’m always trying to peddle my book. I am following your web and learning so much. My husband is ADD and until recently I didn’t understand the magnitude it can cause. Your site is giving me an education.

    1. Thanks, Chuck. For some reason you are not showing up in my comments feed, so I just found this when I jumped over to reread. I thank you for keeping up with as well – I live to help others figure out how to drive their own [fine, tho’ different] brains.

      Unasked for advice: enable pingbacks and trackbacks on your posts and pages (you can over-ride individually, but there is a way “backstage” to do it on ALL posts & pages). It will encourage folks to link to your articles.

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