Getting your head round the passage of time

I can’t be the only one that struggles with this? I feel like my counting process for years is broken and stuck around 2000 because it’s so neat, so if something happened in 1960, I still think that 40 years ago as opposed to more than 60 years ago.

Also, I still assume that all very old people were there in the second world war, which might have been true when I was a kid in the early 90s, but is definitely not true now - this thread was inspired by spotting the same kind of thinking in the Guardian:

The older retired officers – like Martinez, 72, and Piquemal, 80 – are haunted by memories of the 1940 French surrender to the Nazis

Also recently saw the idea that if I introduce my child in the next few years to golden period Simpsons (which by that point will be 30 years old), it would be equivalent to my parents introducing me as a child to stuff from the mid-60s - Steptoe and Son, and That Was the Week That Was.

Also, That 70s Show began airing in 1998, if you made an equivalent period sitcom today it would be about the early 00s.

I know none of this should be surprising but it still hurts my head a bit?


I call this The Vertigo of Time and it’s something I think about quite a lot. I think you do chuck down markers in your head as you’re developing that help you anchor time, but then cause this sort of thing. So, for me, a lot references off the mid-to-late-'90s, I guess because that was formative time for me (13 in 1999). Because you pick up a lot of serious formative references (like music, film etc) around that age, that becomes a sort of datum for you. To take an example from something formative for me, I got really into Sketches for My Sweetheart The Drunk around 2002, so formative time period. That record came out in 1998, so 23 years ago. 23 years before 1998 was 1975!

The fact that the pace of change in the world has accelerated a bunch doesn’t help. For example, I’m 34, and if you take 34 from 1986 you get 1952. The worlds of 1952 and 1986 feel more congruent than the worlds of 2021 and 1986, and 1952 feels like it’s from another galaxy completely.


No you’re not

Yeah it does

and arg TIME ARG


Weirds me out a lot too, though I think the emergence of super archival technology kind of means that, in terms of perception, time literally doesn’t pass like it used to anyway. So it’s kind of a mish mash of internal and external reasons

how time can move both fast and slow amazes me


The desert is the sand!

1 Like

tend to think of it in the donnie darko sense that we’re just a big line in time and we experience parts of it differently just because of reasons



I’m starting to view time in a more Blue guy from Watchmen / aliens from that film kind of way. I obviously can’t see into the future but it makes the rapid tempo changes easier to deal with


That Modest Mouse lyric about how “the years go fast but the days go so slow” gets more and more relevant as I get older


Grease is a 1978 movie based around kitsch 50s nostalgia for 19 years prior, so now would be set in 2002??!?!?

(I’m very not interested in sensible people saying “ya, that’s how time works?”)


Obviously it is partly just getting older but reckon also objectively perception of time has changed for everyone, in the 90s every three years would be a complete era shift in music now bands still seem like new acts for their first decade, sitcoms like friends seemed like they had really long runs now sitcoms with that many seasons come and go all the time and it doesn’t seem era spanning or particularly long lived, reckon it is because stuff doesn’t go away anymore


find it funny how in period films there’s different ideas of period depending on when they were made. like all that merchant ivory stuff is so fuckin’ 90s regardless of what time period it’s meant to be set in. i just don’t think humans are very good at time.


well there’s an odd illustration of how my brain works. First two lyrics posts were all “argh, I know that song, what on earth is it, I can’t remember” and then as soon as I see this my brain goes ahhh yes, there we are

Found myself losing grip on the months recently, which is novel. Think it’s a combination of no social events like birthday parties etc to demarcate and the weather being nuts so it’s not even like you can go “oh yeah it’s warm and sunny now, must be May” ‘cause it could snow this afternoon and yesterday it hailed.

This is causing some confusion with month end reports today where I keep referring to March but it’s May! April ended!

1 Like

The punk funk revival of bands like The Rapture and Radio4 was 20 years after Gang Of Four’s debut, Entertainment! was released.

House Of Jealous Lovers was released 19 years ago.


no one really knows how clocks work either


the pyramids were as old to cleopatra as the dinosaurs are to us


The haircuts always give it away

I blame the 60s, I think too much stuff developed too quickly in the 60s. And maybe 70s

2001 was not 20 years ago ha ha fuck off time.

1 Like