Oh my freaking god. Is it the holidays already? I seriously can't handle this.
I feel like every time I turn around, it's Christmas, Christmas, Christmas. At this rate I'll be old by next week, if I make it to old. I'll be one of those people looking back at my life and saying, "WTF? Where did it go?"
So why does time seem to move so fast? Well, first we need a sense of proportion: there's a theory that because a minute is a greater portion of child's life than of an 80-year-old's, time feels more elongated to the very young and more fleeting in the decades after childhood.
Then there's the quality of our experience in the moment. Recent research showed that when people were dropped 15 storeys into a net, their fright made their sense of time slow down.
Short of walking through life putting ourselves in danger, can we make our lives seem longer?
What the experts say
"Time perception is linked to the way we live our lives. The more we do, the more quickly time seems to pass. In the 21st century we flee from boredom and stuff our schedules and look to our gadgets to divert us. But boredom requires being present in the moment, and in the right dosage it can be a very good thing. The human animal needs moments of quiet and stillness, and we've edited these out of our lives. Slow down. Be fully engaged. Have those moments of serendipity. When you have a free hour, go to the park. If you sit with boredom, eventually something comes out of that silence."
CARL HONORE, author, In Praise Of Slow, London, UK
"The speed of time is determined by how many impressions and perceptions the mind takes in - the more impressions, the slower time goes. The mind has a kind of desensitizing mechanism that switches off our attention to experiences that we're more often exposed to. If we know that familiarity makes time pass faster, then we can slow down time by exposing ourselves to as much new experience as possible. Also, make a conscious effort to be mindful. This stretches time in exactly the same way that new experience does. Because we give more attention to our experience, we take in more impressions. In normal absorption, time goes quickly, but if you become absorbed to an intense degree, you can experience a massive slowing of time. This is what happens when athletes are ‘in the zone.'"
STEVE TAYLOR, author, Making Time: Why Time Seems To Pass At Different Speeds And How To Control It, psychologist, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK
"We remember a life-threatening situation as though it happened in slow motion. Our team wanted to test whether this occurs because the brain speeds up and records more information, like a high-speed camera. We found that during heightened fear (in this case brought on by a 100-foot free fall), people do not actually take in more ‘frames per second,' but they seem to remember the free fall as though it lasted longer than normal. We concluded that a scary event causes the brain not to record more but to remember more. That increased information density may make it feel as though time slowed. There is a relationship between the memories you form and the perception of time. It may be that as you age, fewer experiences are novel. With fewer new things to remember, the years seem to go by faster."
CHESS STETSON, co-author with David Eagleman and Matthew Fiesta, Does Time Really Slow Down During A Frightening Event?, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
"Our internal clock is regulated by the neurotransmitter dopamine, whose levels decrease after our mid-20s. In our study, we asked adolescents and people in their 70s to estimate time. The teenagers' estimated minute was 53 seconds, and the adults' about 70, which would indicate that time was going by much quicker than the adults thought, while going much slower than the teenagers thought."
PETER A. MANGAN, department of psychology, Northern Arizona U, Yuma