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Meadowlark Hospice

Dawn's Notes

So Are the Days of Our Lives - January 2022
by Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW

“Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”  Those lines, the picture of the hourglass, and the music have stuck with me through the years.  They are from a soap opera called “Days of Our Lives” that began in 1965. Even though I was never an avid soap opera fan, I still remember that hourglass with the tiny grains of sand trickling downward until the top of the hourglass was empty.  For many older people, it seems like the sand is trickling faster each year. Perhaps you have heard older folks say, “It seems like time is speeding up.”  Or “It seems like I just did the laundry, and it is time to do laundry again!”  Or “The year just began, and it’s already December!”  Our sand seems to be trickling faster!

Researchers are trying to find out why so many older folks feel like time is moving more quickly than in previous years.  It is a well-documented reaction of many who are aging.  Maybe it is because they realize that most of their years have already been lived and there are fewer years left.  The sand in the hourglass seems to be emptying too quickly. Maybe you, like I, remember when you were a child, when it seemed that Christmas or summertime would never come or the school year would never end.  For a child, the sand in the hourglass may trickle slowly.  

Scientists have varying theories about why it feels like time speeds up as we grow older.  Professor Adrian Bejan of Harvard University hypothesizes that as we age, we process things more slowly, and that makes it feel like time speeds up.  Bejan bases his theories on physics and biology. Other scientists point out that “clock time” and “mind time” are totally different—they flow at varying rates.  Hours, days, months, and years on “clock time” are steady and measurable.  But the perception of “mind time” may shift constantly, depending on our age and activities, thus making our time seem to either fly or slow down. 

In an article by Jeff Haden, “Work-Life Balance,” Jeff emphasizes the importance of using our biggest gift—TIME—well.  He encourages us to do things that we enjoy, to do something different, or something we have never done before—a new “first.” By doing things we enjoy or something different, it may help slow time down just a bit.  He says, “You may joke that the week you went on vacation flew by far too quickly, but if you stop and think about it, that week actually seemed to last much longer” than your regular daily routine.

It you have experienced a loss, your perception of time may still be a bit out of kilter.  You may not be ready to consider doing anything new or different, but hopefully, someday you will. Since your loss, you are probably more aware of how precious every moment is.  Here are some thoughts from an unknown author: 

Barely the day begins and it is already six in the evening.
Barely Monday arrives and it's already Friday.
And the month is already over, and the year is almost gone,
And 40, 50, or 60 years of our lives has passed.…
So let’s try, despite everything, to enjoy our remaining time,
Let’s put some color in our grey,
Let’s smile at the little things in life that put joy in our hearts….
The day is today.  The moment is now.

After my husband died, it was a few months before I had enough energy to think about doing anything different with my life.  So be patient with yourself as you make decisions—healing will come. Time is precious, so don’t waste your moments!  “Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” 

Call about the next "Living Life after Loss" Group at:
Meadowlark Hospice
709 Liberty, Clay Center, Kansas
(785) 632-2225
Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW, Group Facilitator