Ben Lowry: Oh no, the days are getting shorter — once again

The sun rises between the stones and over crowds at Stonehenge where people gathered to celebrate the dawn of the longest day in the UK yesterday, Friday June 21, 2019. The days will now get shorter until the winter solstice on December 21. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
The sun rises between the stones and over crowds at Stonehenge where people gathered to celebrate the dawn of the longest day in the UK yesterday, Friday June 21, 2019. The days will now get shorter until the winter solstice on December 21. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
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On no, not again.

No, no, no. Please no.

The days are getting shorter.

We have already reached and passed that gloomy milestone.

Every year it comes round a little bit more quickly than it did before.

Why do we have this sense of time speeding up as we get older?

I remember, in first form at school, aged 11, thinking it would take an eternity — seven long years — to reach 18, and be like those cool adults in sixth form.

I also remember, in GCSE physics, which I loathed, adding up with dread how many minutes I had left, the thousands of them.

But it all passed in time.

Now five years passes by at an alarmingly swift pace, let alone one.

There are various theories as to why our sense of time changes. The one I believe is the percentages theory — that our sense of time changes the more we experience it.

Thus, at the age of one, a year is 100% of our experience, so it lasts like an eternity. At age 10, it is 10% of our experience, so it still feels like a long duration. At 50, however, it is only 2% of our experience, and so it seems much less long.

Now I understand an old man’s quote, that I once heard on radio: “When you are 90 breakfast seems to come around every 15 minutes.”

So here we are again, past the June 21 summer equinox.

But this year I savoured the six month run-up to this point, from that very first stage, in early January, when the lengthening of evening daylight became gradually apparent, through those glorious days of March and April, by when there was an abundance of light, and every day a little bit more.

• Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter deputy editor

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