But its flight path can be complicated.
I clearly remember being a newly minted college freshman in 1983 and thinking that 1987 was SO far off, it didn’t seem possible that it would ever happen.
Well … Ha!
These days, I see business signs that say “Established 1990” and think, “That looks dumb. That’s not so long ago” … oh, wait.
I vividly remember being a little kid and remembering every Christmas I had thus far experienced, each separately and in great detail.
Now, I have to consult a calendar: “What did we do last Christmas?”
My own high-school and college careers seemed to last forever; my kids’ are going by in a flash … at least to me. When it comes to my children’s childhoods, the saying is true: The days are long but the years are short.
(Like many quotes, this one has been said, in various ways, more than once, by Anna Quindlen, Gretchen Rubin and the indie rock group Modest Mouse.)
There are many explanations for this change in how time feels. One reason: when you’re five, a memory takes up much more of your total life and so feels bigger; that’s called proportional theory. Also, memories of being a teenager and young adult are more vivid because they are a lot of firsts; that’s called “the reminiscence bump.” Meanwhile, time really does fly when you’re having fun; also when you are not having a lot of vivid and novel experiences. And it feels like it’s going faster when you’re busy – and adults are busier than children.
One article speculated having time speed up as you age may be a good thing; it means you’re not having a rocky life or bad experiences, like being depressed.
I like that. I’ll go with that.