Variety is the Spice of Life: Why Time Seems to Be Passing By Quicker As We Age

According to Chip & Dan Heath in their book The Power of Moments, most people think that time passes quicker once we get past the age of 30. If this is true, why? The Heaths claim that it’s because the ages of 15-30 contain a lot of life milestones – we finish school, learn to drive a car, study for a degree, get our first job, enter our first romantic relationship, travel the world, get married, have children etc. After the age of 30, there are far fewer big milestones, and that can make it seem like time is flying by.

So how can we try to counteract this? The Heaths suggest that we should add a little variety by creating defining moments in our lives – memories that can can create by doing something novel. This could be a combination of moments of elevation, insight, pride, or connection. A moment of elevation is one that rises above the everyday; a moment of insight rewires our understanding of ourselves or the world; a moment of pride will capture us at our best; and a moment of connection is social.

As much as routines are designed to increase productivity, it allows time to fly by unnoticed. Adding the extra spice to life through variety will allow us to remember more prominent moments through our lives. So what kind of things can you do to add variety? Going to your favorite travel destination can provide a moment of elevation; doing a 10-day meditation course may provide you with moments of insight; entering an obstacle course race with a team of friends can create pride and connection.

If you think about it, life is made up of moments. So create photo-worthy moments, try new things, and lean into uncertainty. As the authors of the book Surprise put it, “We feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they’re not.”