Sunday, December 18, 2016

"Ever Notice How The Years Go By Faster And Faster?"

When we were children, remember how long it took for that next birthday to arrive, or for Christmas or other important holiday (4th of July or Thanksgiving, for instance) to come around again? Remember how long a few days or a couple of weeks seemed when it meant going on vacation or having our grandparents visit us?

It seemed like it took a really long time for Christmas break or summer vacation to arrive. When a school assignment was announced on Monday that was due on Friday, it seemed like a long time off - maybe giving rise to early stages of procrastination.

Then as we got a little older and were able to grasp the concept of time a little better, the hours went by a little quicker. As the hours passed, so did the days, months, and years.

Age does play a part in time perception. As a youth, we don't have the ability to grasp the concept of time and what it means. This doesn't really happen until somewhere in the middle grades of elementary school, depending on the person. We might be able to read a clock or "tell time" at a very early age, but that doesn't mean that we have a real sense of how that relates to its passage.

As we approach adulthood, we reach a stage where time actually does seem to pass at a rate of about 20% faster than it did as a child. This again, has to do with perception and the way our brains process information. I suspect it also reflects how much busier our lives and calendars get as we begin to go to college or enter the workforce.


When we were in high school or college, the days passed a little faster than they did when we were in elementary school, but that was nothing when compared to how it is today. While the time seemed to fly by when a big project like a term paper was looming in front of us, the days seemed to be be reasonably long enough to accomplish what we needed to do - at least looking back on it now.

Now, as adults - some of us senior adults (by various definitions and age thresholds) - the days, if not the years seem to really pass by quickly. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that we were decorating for the holidays, and now here it is again? We just got used to writing "2016" after having learned "2015" prior to that, and now it's time to adjust everything to 2017?

Then it will be just a few weeks, or so it will seem, and it will be time to say hello to 2018.

Procrastination has a way - even if it unintentional - of eating up large chunks of time. We decide that something can wait a few weeks to do, that it can wait until spring, that we can do it on the fall, that we can do it when school is out or when it starts up again, or whatever time frame we pick. Then the next thing we know, that time has come and gone, and it took us totally by surprise.

Time really does seem to speed up, and the days, weeks, months, and years go flying by - almost faster than we can keep up with them. It's not just one or two of us either that this is true. This is nearly universal.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, C,E,A,C, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.