Gone in a flash!
“How is it already December?”
This is a question that just seems to keep coming up in conversation now that we’ve ticked into the final month of the year.
“Where has this year gone?”
Speed of time
I don’t know about you, but for me, and many of those people I speak with, time just seems to be flying by. It feels like it was just yesterday when we were preparing for the 2022 festive period and I was using the threat of being on Father Christmas’s ‘naughty list’ to encourage my children to moderate their behaviour and tidy their rooms, which I might add was to little affect.
But here we are again, in December with the days getting shorter in the northern hemisphere and the shops full of all that you would expect at this time of year.
So where has the time gone?
Whilst a lot of research has been conducted regarding our perception of time, especially following the COVID lock down period, it appears to me that there are two key factors which are influencing this the most.
- Increasing Uncertainty: There’s no doubt that the baseline level of uncertainty we are living with continues to remain high. With so much happening in our macro-environments, including extreme tragedy in seemingly faraway places, it is hard not for our mental energy to be consumed as we battle the sense of threat that this uncertainty creates for us. And with less free mental energy it’s not surprising we lose track of time with the days and weeks just seeming to fly by.
- Increasing Distraction: To help us cope with the increased uncertainty and an increased sense of threat, a classic human behaviour is to allow ourselves to become distracted. Often enabled by the small device in our hands, or by some other piece of clever technology that we perceive is essential to us, we consume time by distracting ourselves away from the issues of the day. We prefer to scroll through mindless content on our platform of choice rather ‘just being’ with ourselves or looking up from the small screen and appreciating all that is good and positive in the world around us.
Although there is little we can do to avoid the increasing uncertainty present in the world around us, there are still things we can do to slow down the passage of time. And this especially relates to the distraction that we experience and create for ourselves.
Pause, breathe and appreciate
One thing I love about this time of year, where we prepare for the new year is that it provides a wonderful opportunity to pause, breathe and appreciate. That is, the symbolic nature of the change of calendar year gives us a prompt to take some time to reflect on the year that has passed and appreciate all the things that we have achieved and all the things we are thankful for in our lives. Too often in the busyness of everyday life we forget to do this. Instead, we just keep running hoping to stay in front of the wave of commitments we have created for ourselves.
So, in this final month of the year, and with the calendar ticking toward 2024 I encourage you to take some time out to reflect on the year that has passed and to appreciate it, in order to not allow it to slip by. Whether this be things you’ve achieved, experiences you’ve had or people you’ve met, it is important to take the time to remember and appreciate.
From those of us in The Purposeful Leader team, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that have a wonderful and fulfilling 2024!