Hours in a lifetime. Visualising time. We know roughly how long an hour feels, although our perception of time's speed varies with our age, our state of mind, and what we are doing. But what about an entire lifetime? How does that feel compared to an hour? This animation tries to give an impression of how long an hour is compared to an 80 year lifespan. The animation starts with a red block that represents an hour, or 60 minutes. 24 of these blocks then assemble to create a single day of 24 hours. 7 days stack up like building blocks to create a column representing a week. 52 weeks spread out to create a year (approximate only, but easier to see). The years then line up in ranks to create an 80 year life. The point of the animation is to give a feel for the number of hours and days in a lifetime. Assuming 80 years, we get:
• total days = 80 years x 365 days = 29,200 days
• total hours = 80 years x 365 days x 24 hours = 700,800 hours

The animation ends with what looks like an aerial view of a city. The whole city represents a lifetime. Each transverse street represents a year, each building a week, and each yellow block or "apartment" is a day. As we survey a lifespan from this novel perpective, we might think that there are many days or very few. Of course, although "absolute" hours and days can be viewed in this way, it is a common experience that time speeds up with age. If this graphic were a subjective view, then the later years in our city block would have progressively lower buildings, as the hours compressed to reflect our subjective experience of time passing faster! An interesting question is "At what age might we have subjectively experienced half a lifetime?" Could it happen in early childhood, even for an 80 year lifetime? Carpe Diem!

Our life expectancy, how long we might expect to live, depends on many factors, such as when and where in we were born and the genetic hand we were dealt. Then there are diseases and trauma to consider. Actuarial studies might be concerned with the risks and statistics that apply when calculating premiums for life insurance. Wikipedia has a great article on life expectancy.

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