Who is stealing your time and memory?

 Our TEDx Speaker Emily, went on an interesting quest to bring back stolen time.

Our TEDx Speaker Emily, went on an interesting quest to bring back stolen time.

Do you ever find yourself asking: “Where did the summer go?”, or saying: “My vacation went by too fast!”? Do people come to you Monday mornings asking what you did over the weekend and you have a hard time recalling? I know I have, many times, and I know I’m not alone!

 

Why do our summers feel like they go by too fast? We were there and conscious for all 4 months of it (2 months if you live in Canada). And why do our week vacations only feel like a couple of days? Why do we have a hard time recalling our weekends, especially when it’s a Monday and the weekend just ended the night before?

Most of us ask these questions and find ourselves in these situations, yet we can’t quite pinpoint the reasons why, which results in the feeling that our memories aren’t very good or getting worse. Another result is the impression that time is going by too quickly, which leaves us feeling robbed or our precious leisure time.  If we could simply remember our weekends and if we were able to fully experience the entire 7 days of our vacation we would feel more fulfilled and in turn happier.

 

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I remember, quite vividly, when I started finding myself in these situations. It was soon after I turned 21 and graduated from university. I had moved from Quebec to Toronto and started my first job that required traveling 45 weeks of the year which meant I spent many hours of my time in taxis, airports, planes, and hotels. At this same time, I took on my first mortgage having bought a condo downtown and, all the while, started my lifelong battle with medical conditions which necessitated spending days and nights in doctors’ offices and hospital waiting rooms around the country.  Because I spent so much of my time on planes, in airports, and hospitals, I used my free time to keep up with the news, latest technology, or research anything and everything so I could keep up and stay “in the know” of things. After a couple years following the same routine, I started to feel my happiness ebbing away. During this time, I also felt time was going by too quickly and I was losing track of the days and months. I started feeling like my vacation was going by too quickly and I often found myself asking: “How the hell is the snow back already when it just melted a week ago!?”. Over time, my memory wasn’t as sharp and I was losing my sense of time and my happiness.

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I knew I was a happy person, after all, my career, my friends, my family, and my hobbies made me happy but I knew something still wasn’t quite right. I spent all my free time trying to figure out why this was happening and how I could change it. I found articles, videos and blogs stating that practicing yoga helps you achieve mental strength, happiness and emotional well-being. I read countless publications and went to live events with the Dalai Llama to learn all about the benefits of meditation. Since I was such a busy person I couldn’t, for the life of me, set aside enough time to practice yoga nor meditation so I thought to myself: “There has to be some other explanation as to why I’m experiencing these negative feelings”.

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As it turned out, there were things I was doing regularly that were causing all this. I then started observing those around me such as my family, friends, and colleagues and noticed they were in the same predicament. It also seemed that those who were older were experiencing these feelings even more frequently.

Ask yourself this:  "what is something you’re doing on a regular basis that might be the reason your time is going so quickly?” What might that something be that is causing a declining memory?"  It’s something you’re doing willingly, it’s something you’re doing more as you get older and we are ALL doing it. One might say loss of memory might be age related and although there’s some truth to this there is something more.

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Once I figured it out and changed my behavior, I started regaining my mental strength, focus, and memory. When someone would ask what I did over the weekend I could remember more quickly and in more detail.  I could experience and remember my entire 7-day vacation and as a result of all this I started feeling happier and more fulfilled.

So, let me ask you, what did you do last weekend?