By Diana Raab, Ph.D.
It is a well-known phenomenon that as we get older, time seems to move more quickly. There are various theories as to why this happens. The one that makes the most sense is that when we are young, we encounter a lot of “firsts,” such as our first sleepover, our first kiss, our first love or getting our first car. When thinking about the firsts in our life, we tend to recall the details of the event more clearly. The more detailed our recollections, the better we remember them.
Many people will also agree that when on vacation, for example, the first few days seem to go very quickly. Then, all of a sudden, it seems as if the vacation takes a huge leap in time, and starts moving much more quickly. Before you know it, it’s time to return home. This is because things become more familiar during the second part of the vacation.
Acknowledging that time seems to be moving quickly is a reminder that there are also things we can do to slow it down. Remaining positive and present is a good way to start. Maintaining a mindful attitude is another way to slow down time. Being mindful means paying attention to the details of your experience and incorporating all your senses into the remembering process–stopping to smell those roses, savoring each bite of a fine meal; really listening to the song of the birds or the sounds of the waves on the shore. Each might last only a moment, but moments are what our memories are made of.
Another way to be mindful about the experiences in our lives is to document them in pictures or video, or write them down. Year’s end is as good time a time as any to do this, as we are all reviewing and remembering the events of the past months. You can do so either in your journal, or, if you are more comfortable, on your computer.
Here are some subjects to write about to help you recall and document the events of 2014:
- Write about the highlights of your year.
- Write about any births or deaths in your family or circle of friends.
- Write about all your accomplishments, big and small, this year.
- Write about one new person you met and why it was a good connection.
- Write about one adventure or new experience that changed you in some way.
- Write a letter of gratitude to someone who did something nice for you.
- Write about the best part of your job.
- Write about a new passion you developed.
- Write about any positive transitions you made.
- Do some free writing about the wonders of 2014.