When I was a 12-year-old, I received a birthday card from an elderly relative wishing me a ‘Happy 9th Birthday’. I remember thinking that she must be clearly senile and would no doubt be carted off to an old folks home sharpish. Fast forward thirty years and I have to do the maths to work out how old I am!
So why does time go faster the older you get? Does it slow again when you’re really old and watching a lot of telly in a comfy chair or does it continue to speed up until you feel like you’re on a waltzer? I best get some travel sickness pills with my pension if the latter is the case!
I’ve read/listened to a couple of books that have got me thinking- Chris Atkins A bit of a Stretch and Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven – where time is oh so slow for Atkins and a lifetime is over in a flash for Albom. (As a side, I heartily recommend both books). So it’s true, nice things fast, nasty slow. But why?
According to faithful old Google:
Unexpectedly pleasurable events boost dopamine release, which should cause your internal clock to run faster. Your subjective sense of time in that case grows faster than time itself, so that short intervals seem longer than they are.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter made in the brain. Basically, it acts as a chemical messenger between neurons. Dopamine is released when your brain is expecting a reward. When you come to associate a certain activity with pleasure, mere anticipation may be enough to raise dopamine levels.
Right thought I, what can I do to help my body make more Dopamine? The answer is simple. Protein. The good lean kind, washed down with a glass of water of course. Here’s a link to some dopamine rich recipes.
But hey, I may not be a nutritionist, but I can tell you, that I’m going to be giving all of those recipes a go, all on the same evening, the night before my next smear. I might even turn up chewing on a turkey leg just in the hope that it’ll go quicker.
Maybe this could also be a solution for a nervous flyer (not that any of us are going anywhere) but it’s got to be worth a go. And, of course, all of you poor Mums and Grandmas that have to endure school sports days and school fair’s, I reckon you should start testing them now, intravenously!
So that’s why good times pass quicker, but why does time speed up with age? Back to Google.
Children perceive and lay down more memory frames or mental images per unit of time than adults, so when they remember events—that is, the passage of time—they recall more visual data. This is what causes the perception of time passing more rapidly as we age.
I also asked Google how to increase memory frames and its basically what we know already, don’t smoke, don’t drink, exercise, sleep, drink water, don’t smile* blah blah blah. Apparently its a natural process, its called ageing – like we need that. Menopausal moustaches, thickened waists and not enough memory frames to slow down time. It’s a cruel world people.
*Not really I made that up!
The moral of my tale is, probably, that we really should slow down and smell the flowers, or live each day as if it’s our last, or some such other waffly inspo quote, because if each day is going to feel faster, I’ve got an awful lot to do, starting with cooking a turkey and waxing my upper lip.