Why My Parents Don't Know How Old I Am

Old people are consistently surprised when they hear someone’s age (“I can’t believe you are ten already! I can still remember when you were born!”.) They also express surprise when they realize how long ago it’s been since they have done something (“Hmm, now that I think about it, I haven’t bowled in fifteen years!”) One of my realizations came in the middle of the last decade when I realized that 1997 was not really all that recent. I needed to envision my whole mental timeline.

Had an idea for a for-fun app that regularly informs users of time-based facts. The problem that the app solves is the inability of the mind to consistently simulate the age of things. The app would take salient world events, people’s ages and significant personal events (you bought your couch 4 years ago) and periodically remind users of how long it’s been since those events occurred. This would allow users to continually shape their awareness of and reflect on the passage of time. It is an established phenomenon that time appears to speed up as one ages so this app could be helpful for dealing with this. Users could even state how surprised they were by certain facts to quantify the normally subjective passage of time.

This tool could be used for goal alignment and future-orientation awareness. “When you were twenty-five you said you wanted to be a pro surfer by thirty. How’s that coming along?” Or perhaps: “Remember when you thought that 2020 was a long way away? Well, it’s only ten years away now.”

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