How good are you at estimating the passage of time?

In the Super Bowl thread, I made a passing reference to a rule change that happened “a few years ago”, that turned out to have occurred in 1994.


This happens to me more and more – I’ve gotten so I take the time span that pops into my head and double it, and I’m usually still off.

Anybody else?

I think it’s a function of aging. If 75% of your life occurred before the event, it seems like only yesterday.

Yes, it’s a function of aging and I’m getting worse at time estimates. Recently I needed a replacement part for a Moen (lifetime guaranteed) sink sprayer. I was confident that the faucet had only been installed in the past 2-3 years. Actual receipt showed 7 years.

I may have to take your plan, jsc1953, and double my estimates.

Another vote for aging as the culprit. I sometimes recall of a period in my life that I think of as “a few years ago”, and when I do the math I realize it was actually 30 years ago.

I dunno, I’ve never been good at that game. Anything that happened prior to a week ago seems to be dumpled in my mental “a while back” folder. I know it happened, I just don’t have a clue how long ago.

Another vote for aging. Add to that the inability, in my case at least, to isolate a particular year from the ones around it because of some personal event that stands out from the rest. That aspect of dating things (as far as years go) began to fade in my 50’s. Relevant stuff had already happened before then and it was just a matter of repetitions after that.

Days or months? Same basic story, except that I used to have memories associated with “warm weather” or “cold weather” because my memories of events usually associate with what sort of clothes I would have been wearing.

My brother and I – whenever we’re in each other’s company long enough to start reminiscing – will try to sequence the “big moments” of our shared lives and will invariably have to rely on trivial associations with memories to decide which event preceded some other one. Sadly, we haven’t been in each other’s presence in so long that even that technique has gotten rusty.

Same for me on the aging, though I can often be quite good at subconsciously estimating shorter passages of time–sometimes even when asleep.

I can relate to this, or used to be able to. We were allowed two 15-minute breaks when I was working a night shift. Without alerting anybody to my plan I would curl up on a tabletop in a quiet area and sleep for almost exactly 15 minutes and wake up refreshed. It came to the boss’s attention that I was “sleeping on the job” so he called me in during the day shift to point out the company policy. I told him, “well, if you want to catch me asleep you can do that at either “one time I was usually on break” or “the other.””

That was the end of that. I quit the job before much longer – before I would have gotten fired. :slight_smile:

I’m terrible at it and always have been. I can’t blame age.

My parents were the absolute worst at this. One time they asked me if I was away at college when some particular event happened, when in fact it happened 11 years before I was born. Or they’d go the other way and ask me if I was “old enough to remember” something that happened when I was 30. It was weird.

I’ve found that it used to be easier because I would move around quite a bit (either to a new city, or just from one apartment to another in the same city). Which school I was attending was another good point of reference. Now that I’ve been in the same condo for nearly 5 years and at the same job for nearly 6 years, it’s hard to remember exactly when stuff happened in that time.

I’m okay in this area, but my mother is a freaking MACHINE. She can set her “internal alarm clock” to get up at a certain time and almost always gets up at that exact minute.

That, or she’s trained herself to the NPR schedule.

time of day? I’m great at it. My estimates are usually very close to the actual time.

years? yeah, not so hot at that. I can’t even get close. Heck, half the time I have to do the math to remember how old either my husband and I actually are. How long we’ve lived in our home? How long ago someone else got married? when something happened? eh. No idea.