The years do go by pretty quickly … I’ve got these yearly calendar reminders to commemorate when I first met certain people, or did so-and-so with someone, etc—and it’s always the same pattern: at about 4-5 years it’s sorta cool, that we’ve gotten to that mark. Then the years start adding on without that much happening, till the 10-year commemorative. “Wow, 10 years!”
Then, after that, it’s a slow trudge till the next 5-year or even next 10-year mark … because, again, not a whole lot happens in terms of the friendship or whatever, even if lots of things are happening in the individual lives.
Twenty years … thirty years … at some point it start being pointless to even keep track. And I start ignoring most of the yearly reminder notifications, unless it’s a major one (Multiples of 5 are probably worth mentioning! probably …)
I think it’s mostly because we pretty much all stay the same people inside … friends I met when we were teenagers, well, we really haven’t changed THAT much—I mean there’s age and the vissicitudes of living but the person is the same for the most part. We all become a little wiser—whatever that means to us—and more “mature” in our views and choices … but the connection is the same, so it doesn’t really feel like as much time has gone by as the numbers of years would suggest.
That’s probably also partly a function of selection bias (or some term like that)—in that the only people that I’d set up that sort of yearly reminder for would be people with whom I do retain that connection … and they are the very same people for whom the years would seem compressed in such a way.
In contrast, when considering someone with whom I might have once been close in some way, but who went on to live a life divergent from mine—there, 5 years might as well be 50, as whatever connection I had with that person has long dissolved, and, to me, their “essence” exists only in what feels like a distant past.