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A year-end message to our clients

December 14, 2015

We are approaching the last few weeks of hard work and then Christmas is upon us yet again.

Everyone seems to have tired of the clichéd expression that time seems to fly by, especially as we get older. This prompted me to conduct some research on the topic.

Psychologist William James wrote in 1890 that, as we age, time seems to speed up because adulthood is accompanied by fewer and fewer memorable events. Perhaps if the Springboks could beat the All Blacks when it counts, this would not be the case!

When the passage of time is measured by “firsts” (first kiss, first day of school, first family holiday), the lack of new experiences in adulthood, James argues, causes “the days and weeks to smooth themselves and … and the years grow hollow and collapse”.

Another theory suggests that our biological clock slows as we age. Relative to the unstoppable clocks and calendars, external time suddenly appears to pass more quickly.

As we age, we pay less attention to time.

As a child, I remember counting down the days from 1 December until Santa brought my bicycle down the chimney. As adults, on 1 December, we are a little more focused on work, bills, family life, scheduling, deadlines, travel plans and Christmas shopping. The more attention we focus on tasks such as these, the less we notice the passage of time.

The research would not be complete without discussing the impact of stress on our perception of time.

When we feel that there is not enough time to get things done, this may be reinterpreted as the feeling that time is passing too quickly … when perhaps all that is needed is prioritising and serenity …

On behalf of Chartered I wish you and yours the opportunity to slow down time over the festive period and perhaps experience some memorable events.

Warm regards

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