If you buy into the theory put forth by French philosopher Paul Janet in the 19th century, then the first week of our lives is also the longest. Designer Maximilian Klener clearly agrees, which is visualized ingeniously in his new interactive digital project, Why Time Flies.
As you scroll down the page, childhood and adulthood squeeze into the screen as time condenses, meant to illustrate the phenomenon of time passing more quickly as you get older. Kiener illuminates this numerically, by listing the decreasing influence each year has on your overall life, and visually, by creating increasingly narrow bars to represent the passing years. “When you are four weeks old, a week is a quarter of your life,” Kiener’s site explains. “By the end of your first year, a week is just a fiftieth of your life. By the time you turn 50, a whole year with be a fiftieth of your life.”
At first, it seems you’ll be scrolling through this visualization forever, but, as promised, it begins to speed up. The time it takes to get from 30 to 70 is startlingly short. Using our relative perception of time, Kiener makes unsettling comparisons, like “Your summer vacation in your first year of college will feel as long as your whole 76th year.” Before you know it, you’re old and dead.
After the screen fades, Kiener’s infographic admonishes us, “Life is short. Do things now!” We don’t need to be told twice.