The Irony of Time

It’s true that time speeds up as we age, as in “Where have the last ten years gone? It seems just yesterday that we ___ (fill in the blank).”

Of course this only makes mathematical sense because when we have just ended our first decade of life, it’s been 100% of our lives up until that point. So, when you’re ten years old, your first decade seems like a lifetime — mainly because it is your whole lifetime. However, when we reflect at the end of our second decade (although no one actually has the ability to reflect when they are 20 years old — but I think you get my point — in which case you should share it with me because I have no idea what I am talking about), it seems shorter because only 50% of our time spent on the blue planet (although most of us live in the green — if we’re lucky — which most of us aren’t) occurred in that second ten year period (so sorry for all of the parentheses — feel free have another read if necessary — wait … I’ll just repeat it without the parentheses — you’re welcome).

Of course this only makes mathematical sense because when we have just ended our first decade of life, it’s been 100% of our lives up until that point. So, when you’re ten years old, your first decade seems like a lifetime — mainly because it is your whole lifetime.  However, when we reflect at the end of our second decade, it seems shorter because only 50% of our time spent on the blue planet occurred in that second ten year period.

(Better? Probably not, but I tried. Sometimes, you just have to have a seat behind my eyeballs to understand what I’m trying to say.)

Therefore, mathematically (because I have proved that I’m so durn clever with numbers — yeah, sure I am — oops, sorry again for the parentheses), our sixth decade amounts to only 16.67% of our lives. So, of course, time seems to go faster. Not to mention the decline in our memories by about … oh … about 99%. So what is mathematically 16.67% of the duration of our lives seems like about three minutes because our lack of recent recall.

And here I am pushing towards the middle of my seventh decade, a period that doesn’t … oh … I forget what …

No wonder it’s all zipping by so fast.

But. Not. Right. Now!

I look at the handy, dandy calendar on my desktop (as in computer desktop) and find that we are just at mid-month. How can this be?

Because it’s January! That’s why. The month that, as if by some form of voodoo, invariably lasts seven times longer than any other month — save one — maybe.

It’s the irony of time. The years go fast, but some days and months seem to drag on endlessly.

There are reasons for this paradox of time that we encounter in January. The carollers have been hushed, the festive lights have long since be dimmed, and we struggle valiantly but in vain to light our spirits in the dreary dark and cold. It’s a l_o_n_g month.

With February yet to come. The shortest but longest month of all.


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13 Responses to The Irony of Time

  1. Mara says:

    I was wondering the other day when my wages were due in. When I looked at my calendar I realised I had to wait another two weeks! You are right, January goes by soooooo slow!

  2. D. Hough says:

    I don’t know about that. Every month seems to zip by too quickly for me.

  3. Diana says:

    Ah yes the January Blahs! January just crawls by. I think we should all just stay home and sleep the entire month, what do you say? Love Di ♥

  4. Ginnie says:

    Well, AC, you’ve managed to hit on a subject that I hate. THANKS A LOT ! This time thing is really annoying. Every time I turn around it seems like months have elapsed and I wonder where I was when it happened. Then I pass a mirror and wonder who that old lady is and how did she get her so soon ???
    It’s all going way too fast for me. And next comes February and my 78th birthday !
    Oh, well, I could try to live that song … “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off” … but who knows where that would lead??? Maybe 6 feet under and then it would be slow, for sure. I guess I’ll take it like it comes and thanks for the reminder (ha,ha)

  5. Kila says:

    It does seem to speed up the older I get.

    And why do my kids have birthdays so much more frequently than I do? LOL My oldest will be 14 this year, but I don’t think I’ve aged since I had him…

  6. Philip says:

    Time! What is it????

    Philosophers have wrestled with this through the ages. It may very well be an illusion. It may be a trick of the mind. It certainly has a subjective element to it.
    If you have ever crashed you car or had a prolonged accident you will find time slows up. I once rolled my skidder while skidding logs out of the bush. I knew I was going to roll over and had “lots of time” to contemplate it. I was able to decide to stay in the cage of the cab and not jump out (and have the machine roll over me.) Good choice! I also was able to reason what I had done to end up in this position. I ran out of mainline attached to the heavy trapped group of logs. At the same time I was manuvering sideways down a mild slope and had the skidder pass over a log on the ground. In this precarious position I pulled myself over as the line grew tight. I also had time to wonder if I should leave the engine running. Perhaps I could later right myself with the mainline. I soon remembered engines are not designed to run sideways as oil started to come through the dash. In spite of all this “time” I did not have time to brake my forward motion so I held on and enjoyed the ride. (and shut the engine off.)

    I do hate the speeding up of time as we age. It is like being on a train as it approaches a dark tunnel (a better image that a brick wall). The closer you get the faster you seem to go.

    If you want to slow time try reading a really dense book, say Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, or Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed. Oh, how time will drag.

    You seem to have a good recipe to the problem of time, you spend a lot of it with your young grandchildren. What I wouldn’t do to have some young ones around to slow time or speed it up by making each moment full of joy.

  7. Lorna says:

    Your post has made me want to take a little walk in that river Einstein claims is time. I think I’ll just step around the bend and go ice-skating on a slough in Calgary with my dad.

  8. Ruth says:

    I like you mathematical musings and agree with your comment about 20 year olds. My birthday is at the end of January and that has always made the month more pleasant for me. Except that birthdays now remind me that time is rushing by…

  9. Oh Goooood!!! So, I’m 16.1% years old!! I Love it!
    Thanks Ac…I can Always count on you to raise my spirits!!Hahaaaa…

  10. KGMom says:

    Several thoughts–I will refrain from capturing any of them in parentheses.
    First, my husband always says–at my birthday–that I am entering my __ year. So, when I turned 49, he kindly pointed out I was entering my 50th year. Etc. You get the drift.
    Second, I just read an article about the ever expanding universe and how galaxies are moving away faster than thought. I suspect that explains the time speeding up thing too.
    Third, George Carlin–that marvelous comedian–used to say that only at the beginning of life and at the end do we count years in portion. Ask a 3 year old how old s/he is–and you will get the answer: I am 3 and a half. Carlin says that the same thing happens with the elderly–I am 90 and a half. The rest of us are content to do years in 12 month increments.

  11. ~SwAmPy~ says:

    Can you type that one more time just a bit more slowly ? I’m still stuck at 50% .
    As far as time speeding by, I can remember at a time in my life when the year 2000 seemed so far out in the distant future. I guess I’ve been having fun because they say it flies when you are.

  12. Hilary says:

    So clever and so true. We (my cousins and I) were just pondering this sort of time passage today, and wondering how in the world our kids got to the ages we were when we knew everything.. and how come they don’t? How did we get to be the oldest generation, save for our now, lone aunt? We buried one of our youngest-minded, with it, witty and active aunts last week. She made it to 99% of ten decades. Time sure does go too quickly sometimes. Thank goodness it’s January. 😉

  13. Bernie says:

    Tonight I am listening to the Australian Open on my computer, I love the commentators accents and their sense of humor cracks me up and it seems like it was only a short time ago I was listening to the 2010 Open…….your right AC, time passes much faster as we get older and that’s okay…..isn’t it?……:-) Hugs

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