Steve Taylor in Psychology Today:
Questionnaires by psychologists have shown that almost everyone – including college students – feels that time is passing faster now compared to when they were half or a quarter as old as now. And perhaps most strikingly, a number of experiments have shown that, when older people are asked to guess how long intervals of time are, or to ‘reproduce' the length of periods of time, they guess a shorter amount than younger people.
We usually become conscious of this speeding up around our late twenties, when most of us have ‘settled down.' We have steady jobs and marriages and homes and our lives become ordered into routines – the daily routine of working, coming home, having dinner and watching TV; the weekly routine of (for example) going to the gym on Monday night, going to the cinema on Wednesday night, going for a drink with friends on Friday night etc.; and the yearly routine of birthdays, bank holidays and two weeks' holiday in the summer. After a few years we start to realise that the time it takes us to run through these routines seems to be decreasing, as if we're on a turntable which is picking up speed with every rotation.
This speeding up is probably responsible for the phenomenon which psychologists call ‘forward telescoping': our tendency to think that past events have happened more recently than they actually have. Marriages, deaths, the birth of children – when we look back at these and other significant events, we're often surprised that they happened so long ago, shocked to find that it's already four years since a friend died when we thought it was only a couple of years, or that a niece or nephew is already ten years old when it only seems like three or four years since they were born.
More here. [Thanks to Ali Minai.]