Saturday, February 6, 2016

Time Flies

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.

I like that. I’ll go with that.

1 comment:

  1. This is so true. I'm going to be 69 in June and my husband and I will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary in July. (Second go-round for both of us.) My oldest granddaughter is a freshman in USC's film school. My grandson just started SHAVING. My son turns 50 in March. Wait...what???! How did all of this happen? Last time I looked, I was 13.