When we were children, the summer holidays seemed to last forever, and the wait between Christmases felt like an eternity. So why is that when we get older, the time just seems to zip by, with weeks, months and entire seasons disappearing from a blurred calendar at dizzying speed?
This apparently accelerated time travel is not a result of filling our adult lives with grown-up responsibilities and worries. Research does in fact seem to show that perceived time moves more quickly for older people making our lives feel busy and rushed.
One theory suggests that the passage of time we perceive is related to the amount of new perceptual information we absorb. With lots of new stimulii our brains take longer to process the information so that the period of time feels longer. This would help to explain the “slow motion perception” often reported in the moments before an accident. The unfamiliar circumstances mean there is so much new information to take in. The five-year period you experienced between the ages of five and ten could feel just as long as the period between the ages of 40 and 80.
– Christian Yates