Our Perception of Time as We Age

The days are long and the months are short. One day, you’ve graduated high school, the next day you’re married with children. Work feels mundane and repetitive because it is, and the time you have off flies by like it was never there to begin with.

Feeling as though life is passing you by is unnerving, like you’re out of control of how quickly everything is happening. Interestingly enough, physical time–minutes and hours–has remained the same our entire life. What changes is our internal perception of how time passes by.

Scientists reason that our perception of time speeds up because we’re not learning as much information as we did when we were children. Many adults do the same thing every day, week after week, and although routine is necessary for success and stability, it doesn’t always engage our brain’s stimuli.

Some events from our childhood can feel more memorable than events that occurred recently. This is because when you’re young, you experience almost everything for the first time, and doing something for the first time is usually always memorable.

When you are young and experiencing lots of new stimuli—everything is new—time actually seems to be passing more slowly. As you get older, the production of mental images slows, giving the sense that time passes more rapidly.

Physics explains why time passes faster as you age By Ephrat Livni
Why the Days Seem Shorter as We Get Older By Adrian Bejan

Slowing Down Time

Physical time remains the same, but our perception of time is changeable. There are ways to combat the inevitable acceleration of life, and how it seems to fly by before us. Two important elements are health and education.

Doctors usually say the something similar to, “Get a good night’s rest, eat healthy, and exercise.” Usually we all nod, and forget what he’s recommended a month later. If you want your day to last longer, it might be advantageous to start taking this advice.

Sleep is not only necessary for your brain to rest, but time goes by faster when you’re dozing off while half awake. Eating healthy brain food is critical for energy, function, and processing information. Exercise doesn’t have to be at the gym, it can be a new outdoor activity you’ve never tried.

Memory is short-lived and many of us just aren’t that engaged in the everyday things we’re doing, so if you slow down and engage more in the moment, and look back on everything deeply later, you may find time lasting longer.”

Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD from Why our sense of time speeds up as we age — and how to slow it down By Nicole Spector

Learning something stimulates the brain and changes our perception of time. When the brain doesn’t have lots of information to process or it’s processing the same things, time feels faster. Learning new information doesn’t just have to be out of a book or a documentary. Experiencing different things, going to new places, meeting people, and engaging in spontaneous activities are all forms of learning.

If you feel like your life is flying by, take a moment to look at where you are and what you’re doing daily. Make time to learn something new, find a new adventure, and take care of yourself. We only have one life, don’t miss it.

Positive Thinking with Self Awareness

The power of the mind is both an exhilarating and terrifying thing. Some people enjoy their inner monologue, often getting lost in thought. Others prefer to keep themselves busy with tangible tasks because they don’t want to face what they’re thinking. The mind can take a person down dark paths. One negative thought can lead to another, traveling down a rapid spiral that is difficult to get out of. Finding a way to maintain optimism may seem impossible and insincere.

The average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80%  are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.

80 % of Thoughts Are Negative…95 % are repetitive By Faith Hope & Psychology 

The Optimist, Pessimist, and Realist

An optimist is someone who is hopeful, even if the chances of success are stacked against them, some would consider these people, “dreamers.” Let’s give an example about asking for a promotion, the optimist would say, “I’ll definitely get a raise.”

A pessimist is someone who believes that the worst will happen in any situation, these people are sometimes called, “downers.” If a pessimist is going in for the same promotion, they’d say, “They’re not going to give me a raise.”

A realist is someone who recognize as situation for what it is, finding the best solution, they tend to rely on data and facts to make decisions. When a realist asks for a promotion, they’d say, “I’ll show them my performance report and that’ll convince them.”

A realist can also combine their traits with an optimist or pessimist. An optimistic realist is someone who prepares success logically, but still wishes for the best. A pessimistic realist will go into success with all the same preparations and still think the worst will happen.

While it’s necessary to look situations rationally, there is always room for positivity. The Law of Attraction is the idea that you get what you put out there . “If you focus on positive thoughts and have goals that you aim to achieve you will find a way to achieve them with massive action.” The difficult part is in believing that this could be true. When I first started hearing this notion, I thought it was dull and cheesy. It was only until years later, in my adult life, did I start to implement this practice.

Although we’ve been told this idea over again, why is it that there are so many reminders to have a positive outlook on things? Because the daily stress of our lives bring us down and we let them. As we aim to achieve more in our age, the more complex and heavy our responsibilities become. Day after day, it wears down on a person, slowly chipping away at the light inside, the one that struggles to maintain lit.

Self awareness is the key to combating negativity.

Being self aware means taking responsibility for your actions, understanding you’re not perfect, and that you’re ultimately in charge of who you are. It’s a process that needs to be practiced daily. When a person is self aware, they aren’t upset at the world around them or convinced that there is only the worst to come. A person who is self aware gains control of their life, because they don’t hold on to negativity.

Instead of mindlessly browsing social media, watching TV or playing games (which I’m guilty of too), take a moment to reflect, even if it’s just for ten minutes. Meditate, contemplate, breathe, and learn from your own actions.

[Self awareness] requires a deep understanding of your past and current self. Experiences shape how we see the world. So, we have to reflect on how the world has shaped us. 

Know Thyself: How to Develop Self-Awareness By Bill George


Putting out positive energy is just as powerful as negative energy. People who practice self awareness find ways to be more positive in their lives, because like realists, they learn from past events and apply them to situations in the future. One can still be optimistic while being realistic. In reframing your personal outlook on situations and opportunities, you might find your goals and dreams fall into place. Consider you who are, who you want to be, and what you want to achieve. It’s always the right time to start.

Lifetime Happiness and Health

Lifetime happiness is an elusive notion, one that has been discussed over generations. The answer to happiness has always been retold like folklore, but now there is scientific proof. A 75 year Harvard Study of Adult Development, revealed that the key to long term happiness, mental and physical health, is having healthy relationships.

[Close relationships] protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes.

Harvard study, almost 80 years old, has proved that embracing community helps us live longer, and be happier By Liz Mineo

It’s not about the quantity of personal relationships that one may have, it’s about the quality of those relationships. Mending friendships, rekindling romance, and dissolving grudges are just as important forms of self care as hygiene or fitness. People are lonely creatures. It’s possible to feel lonely in a city of millions or lonely in a room filled with family. Loneliness is the largest, life-draining emotion a person can have. That’s why maintaining healthy relationships is important.

Psychiatry professor and current director of the Harvard study, Robert Waldinger, goes into depth in his Ted Talk, explaining the importance of quality relationships, its correlation to life’s longevity, and how even an unhappy relationship could be worse than not having one at all. Mental health has a direct correlation with physical health. There are many scientific studies that illustrate how poor mental health can affect blood pressure, mental deterioration, and an increased risk of cancer.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has categorized mental illness into two. Any mental illness (AMI) is “defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder, [ranging from] mild, moderate, and even severe impairment.” This means that AMI could be how a person compartmentalizes things or how they may negatively treat others due to their own pain. Serious mental illness (SMI) “is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder resulting in serious functional impairment.”

The overall data concludes that 18.9% or an estimated 46.6 million US adults over 18 had prevalence of AMI. That’s a lot of people who are suffering from something. Even if it’s not serious or need of medical treatment, there are millions who are in a similar situation of loneliness and disconnect.

Connecting the statistics from NIMH and results from Harvard’s Study of Adult Development, it’s apparent that the seemingly obvious notion of maintaining relationships for health, happiness, and self care has gone unnoticed by many. Indeed, there are mental issues that need to be consulted with a professional. Some, however, can be resolved with self-awareness and essentially, love.

It’s never too late to practice self-care. In addition to doctor’s recommendations to eating healthier and exercising more, working on maintaining the spark in marital relationships can reduce the affects from the pains of aging. There are also those who believe that their life expectancy is based on family generations before them. According to Harvard’s study, “the role of genetics and long-lived ancestors proved less important to longevity than the level of satisfaction with relationships in midlife, now recognized as a good predictor of healthy aging.”

There are some mental and physical conditions that are unpreventable, and the effects of one’s previous experiences can impact a person’s life for decades. Rather than being a statistic, there are ways to alter the outcome of your situation. If it’s one thing that science and belief has proven to be true is that love for yourself and those in your positive relationships will bring with it, good health.

Unconditional, pure, and good love within romance, friendship, and family will lead a longer, happier life. So when you’re feeling depressed, or out of control of your thoughts and emotions, take a moment and do something new with someone you love, reconnect with a friend or family member. Create and nurture positive relationships because the key to a rich life is love.

The Relationship’s Emotional Rock

Love relies on compromise and nurture. Through the lifetime of any relationship, there’s give and take between the parties involved romantically. Emotions are a touchy subject, particularly between two people. One person may feel like they’re putting in all the effort, supporting their partner emotionally. The other may feel like the connection is lost all together.

Over time, two people can disconnect because they feel the love and attachment fades within a marriage or relationship. We are human. We feel emotion. Still, so many of us ignore that part of ourselves, and in turn, disregard it in others. Romance is more than lust and attraction, it’s support and intimacy, emotionally and physically. Here are a few tips to emotional stability within relationships:

The important thing is that you gently communicate your feelings, so you both know where you stand and so you can figure out how best to help one another deal with the situation.

Emotionally Supporting Your Partner by Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
  1. Touch Each Other: People need human touch, and in certain circumstances, a loving embrace works better to communicate than words. When your partner is upset and frustrated, even touching their hand or arm could put them at ease.
  2. Communicate and Listen: Both men and women want to be heard. We all want to express ourselves and have our feelings validated. It’s hard to remember, as a partner, that we don’t have to give our opinion in every situation, rather we should provide our support in whatever our loved ones are going through.
  3. Deal with Stress Together: Stress is a catalyst for negative emotions. When one thing goes wrong, so does everything else, as it would seem. This takes a toll on everyone involved and is completely unavoidable. The best way to handle it is together, with open lines of communication and compassion.
  4. Take Care of Yourself: In a relationship, both parties have to work on fixing each other’s issues together. Yet, sometimes we get so involved with helping those around us, we forget to take care of our needs. Love and partnership helps in making yourself a better person, but self-care is still necessary for long term mental health.
  5. Emotions are Handled Differently: Depending on how a person was raised and their genetic make-up, humans all express themselves in their own ways. As you spend more time with someone, you’ll notice what their ticks are, based on what they’re feeling. Through observation before action, a person can infer a situation by a person’s body language.

Men release less Oxycontin than women when they are stressed, meaning they have a stronger reaction from both cortisol and epinephrine. [Women nurture] those around them in an effort to both protect themselves and their young. Men [are] more likely to have the “fight or flight” response when it comes to stress – either repressing their emotions and trying to escape the situation, or fighting back.

HOW TO HANDLE YOUR PARTNER’S STRESS Posted by: Team Tony

We are flawed, imperfect beings with irrational emotions, and intellectual minds. The emotional rock in a relationship is handed back and forth. Sometimes, you’ll be the one that needs a shoulder to lean on. Other times, you’ll be the shoulder that is leaned upon. Beyond physical pleasure, the joy and beauty in being with another person is having someone to go through it all, together.

Adulthood and the Death of Youth

Coming of age is a staple theme in the modern day of storytelling. Everyone has a story from back in the day, and it’s commonly portrayed in literature and TV. Something that universally unites us as humans is witnessing our life change overnight and facing the price of freedom known as responsibility.

Once upon a time, we all had a dream. When someone asked us as a child what we wanted to be, we said and array of things: doctor, vet, pilot, fireman, actor, musician, etc. For many, getting older meant letting go of said dreams and facing reality. When do we become adults? Is it when we’re financially stable, married, have children, or all of the above?

[According to new research by CBS’ TV ratings guru David Poltrack and Nielsen Catalina Solutions], 30 happens to be the age at which millennials tend to self-identify as adults.

Millennials Don’t Consider Themselves Adults Until 30, Researcher Says byTony Maglio 

Way back when, boys and girls were considered adults at the age of twelve and thirteen. If you’ve read or seen The Lord of the Rings, the fantasy race of Hobbits reach adulthood at the age of 33. Who knew J.R.R. Tolkien could foresee where human development was headed?

But, it is the millenial parents who have convinced us that we aren’t adults. From financial support to constant approval, the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are constantly involved in their children’s adult lives.

We all have or have known a parent who had a hand in their child’s homework, always cleaned up after them, took care of situations for them, or constantly reminded them of things they were capable of handling on their own. In these parents’ eyes, they were and still are doing what’s best for their children. What suffers is the child’s on confidence in handling themselves as an adult.

As a result of not being babied or supervised themselves as children, as well as cultural shifts in parenting norms through the progression of technology, these generations overcompensated in their involvement with their Millennial children.

How Baby Boomer Parents Molded the Millennial Generation by Ilana Bodker

At 25, there are other young adults I know who don’t know how to do taxes, how to change a tire, cut the grass, or even use the right settings on the laundry machine. Instead of figuring this stuff out on our own, the first thing we do is call our parents and ask for help. These are the same parents who lecture us about how we need to “grow up.”

For me, adulthood is being financially and emotionally independent. Even with your parents, taking someone else’s money comes with a price. Letting go of the emotional reliance we have with our parents from birth is the only way to develop a relationship and family of your own.

Being young is liberating and fun in it’s own way, but it isn’t truly free. Getting stuck between adulthood and adolescence is stressful, and takes a toll on our mental health. I used to be scared of being an adult and controlling my own outcome, because I’d probably mess it up. It’s nothing to be scared of, adults fail all the time going after their dream. Adults make mistakes they have to fix. Adults figure it out on their own. We all have the same ability to take control of our own life.

Conquering Procrastination

Guilt is the causing element for putting off things that need to be done. People avoid doing the things that will benefit them the most by distracting themselves with errands that don’t hold any meaning. For instance, someone may spend their day cleaning instead of working on the project they had promised themselves to finish. It’s as though procrastinating as an adult is easier than as a kid.

In school, students put off studying or writing a paper until the night before. Still, they finished it. As an adult, there are no deadlines for personal goals and aspirations. It’s up to the individual to make whatever dream they want, happen. Most would think that the freedom of adulthood would allow dreams to be met with full force.

Something else happens. As a grown-up, there aren’t teachers and parents breathing down one’s shoulder. Without that pressure, uncertainty  overtakes the person wishing to achieve the impossible.

IMG_4655

Here, a healthy person, with a sound mind, finds almost anything else to do than their own deepest desires, as if they believe that dreaming alone will make wishes come true. So instead of doing, they fear risk of failing, not even trying. Then comes in guilt, and no one wants to feel guilt. Guilt is a transferable emotion. Instead of taking responsibility for laziness, blame the spouse, kids, or parents. It’s everyone else’s fault.

Coming full circle, procrastinating one’s life goals is more dangerous as an adult than as a child. It’s difficult for some to accept that part of themselves. As the narrators of our own lives, we tend to think of our own self as a perfect protagonist, flawless and good. Yet, we are human.

Procrastination isn’t an action, it’s a feeling. One must accept their feeling in order to move past it. No matter how many times you’re told, it’s never too late. Don’t put off going after what you want. There will always be an excuse. Just go after it. Be who you want to be. Stop dreaming. Start doing.

IMG_4538