Claudia Hammond, the author of Time Warped: Unlocking The Secrets Of Time Perception, explores ideas of memory and time. It is often felt that memory is a library we can call upon whenever we like, however Hammond explains that we “forget far more than we remember”, instead every time we call upon a memory, we:
reconstruct the events in our mind and even change them to fit in with any new information that might have come to light.
The problems of memory is something Clive Thompson discusses this in his book Smarter Than You Think.
This continual revision of the past allows us to imagine the future.
The experience of time is actively created by our minds. Various factors are crucial to this construction of the perception of time – memory, concentration, emotion and the sense we have that time is somehow located in space. Our time perception roots us in our mental reality. Time is not only at the heart of the way we organise life, but the way we experience it … Instead of considering the past, present and future to be in a straight line, we can look on our memories as a resource to allow us to think of the future.
In regards to our sense of time going faster and slower, this comes back to questions of routine and novelty.
Some routine, of course, is unavoidable. But if you can create a life which feels both novel and entertaining in the present, the weeks and years will feel long in retrospect. Even varying your route to work can make a difference. The more memories you can create for yourself in everyday life, the longer your life will feel when you look back.