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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

Letter from Publisher

Dec 01, 2018 06:48PM

As we wrap up another year, many of us find ourselves again asking, “Where did this year go?” Myriad articles have tried to explain why we often perceive time—and life—moving by too quickly, especially as we age.

In a March 5, 2016, article in Psychology Today, Dr. Jim Stone suggests that memories play a crucial part in this peculiar experience. When we are young, everything is new, which makes things more exciting or sometimes more terrifying. Emotionally charged experiences are more likely to be recorded as memories, according to Stone. “As we get older we describe our experience in larger chunks,” he explains. “Ask a child how he got home, and he will tell you he left school, got chased by a bully, found a round rock to kick, kicked the rock until it hopped the curb near the mean dog’s yard, found another rock to kick, got teased by a girl, and so forth. Ask an adult, they’ll tell you simply that they walked home.”

Breaking away from routine and experiencing new sights, sounds and people immerses us more thoroughly in the human experience, reignites our sense of wonder and encourages us to savor time and thus life. While vacations to exotic locales certainly disrupt routine and provide stimulating experiences that slow us down, simpler, low or no-cost options abound. Learn a new skill or hobby. Take time to stop and smell the roses, literally: be present while exploring a new neighborhood or outdoor setting, observing the various species of trees, plants, insects and wildlife. Volunteer with a charity or organization that is new to you and does work you respect or one that serves a group of people that you might not otherwise encounter.

These approaches provide twofold benefits: slowing down our experience of time and also teaching us about other living beings that share this world with us. The experiences of forming new memories through interaction help us develop empathy, compassion and respect, which our country and world greatly need as we venture into the new year.

Wishing you a 2019 full of peace, wonder and fulfillment!

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher

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