Get Off the Hamster Wheel and Make Meaningful Moments

July 6, 2021


On this show...we are poking a stick in it, turning off auto-pilot, and getting off the hamster wheel. No longer are we going to walk through life wondering where we are going and “what just happened?”. SNAP - time to wake up for some intentional and meaningful moments. That’s right, intentional. How will you approach each day; Wondering where the time went or finding unique ways to experience, connect, understand, and document? The hamster wheel suggests a whole lot of action but not really getting anywhere. When you sit down at night, after a long day of who knows what, where does your mind go; glad it’s over or trying to put shape to the blur? Instead of allowing time to slip away unnoticed, let’s dig into these questions and add meaning. 

I read this quote in a book recently: We’re young for such a small fraction of our lives, and yet our youth seems to stretch on forever. Then we’re old for years and years, but time flies by fastest then.

I’m sure everyone is nodding their head no matter what your age is. We all have 365 days in a year and endless opportunities to find meaning. We also start out with a somewhat blank slate and add experiences and memories as we go. 

What stands out? I’m sure your mind goes to major milestones in your life.

What happens to all the moments in between? Why didn’t they make the vault of memories you value? How much of your life was spent waiting and pondering the next meaningful moment?

Meik Wiking says There’s an art to happy memories — you can make more by experiencing more “first”s - in his talk for ideas.ted.com

Interesting research about the reminiscence effect…

One theory behind the reminiscence bump is that our teens and early adulthood years are our defining years, our formative years. Our identity and sense of self is developing at that time, and some studies suggest that experiences linked to who we see ourselves as are more frequently retold in explaining who we are and are therefore remembered better later in life.

One study found that 73 percent of people’s vivid memories were either first-time experiences or unique events.

If we want life to slow down, to make moments memorable and our lives unforgettable, we may want to remember to harness the power of firsts. In our daily routines, it’s also an idea to consider how we can turn the ordinary into something more extraordinary in order to stretch the river of time. 

I find that doing something with my hands, creating something, writing something - can make for a meaningful moment. For instance, I love crocheting. Hear me out. Something in my brain finds comfort in a repetitive motion. Another part of my brain is satisfied when I take unformed items and create forms - like fabric into a garment, paper scraps into a card, and yarn into a hat, scarf, or blanket. This repetitive motion of winding yarn in different patterns can create a hat you wear to give you comfort. JOY! Then there is this wire that becomes obsessed with a project so I’ve created over 100 hats!

Obviously, I don’t have 100 cold children or adults in my family who need hats so I’ve looked for other outlets to donate hats. For me, that’s meaningful. 

Michael and Sophia Miracolo show us How to escape the hamster wheel – tools and tips from their blog liveslowrunfar.com

What is the hamster wheel, even? The dictionary hints at an unfulfilling activity leading nowhere, but our modern-day interpretation builds more into it than that.

“Am I living my life the way I want to? Am I investing my time in a way that fulfills me?”

Here are some ideas on how to do more with less and refocus your life on meaningful moments:

  • Clear out your home
  • Switch careers
  • Move to the countryside
  • Lower your expenses
  • Work less
  • Start freelancing (when possible)
  • Grow your own vegetables
  • Move to a smaller city or town
  • Downsize

I love all those ideas and especially the whole concept of live slow, run far. What’s the rush?? A friend was telling me about a book he read referencing the 33,000 days that the average person has to live. Whoa…..looking at time with that perspective is a bit daunting. Already I feel behind the eight ball. But if you could look at your life with a finite sense of time, would that change your outlook? Would that motivate you to live life to its fullest, never wasting a moment?

Tim McGraw sings “live like you were dying”. This is poignant because most people who are faced with that prospect or have witnessed a near-death experience have echoed that they now view their day-to-day differently and as a result, pack in moments that are meaningful. 

There are endless quotes about happiness and in the end what held the most meaning and they all point to our connections. I’m sure I don’t need to point out that these are personal or in-person connections, not Facebook friends or Twitter followers.

It’s connecting, listening, sharing, understanding, and encouraging the people in our lives. The ones we call our “people” and the ones we’ve yet to meet. 

Lachlan Brown gives us The 10 most important things in life (for fulfillment and happiness) in his article for ideapod.com

1 -Healthy Relationships

2 -Family

3 -Yourself

4-Your friends

5 -Love in all shapes and sizes

6 - Passion

7 -Time and productivity

8 - Good health

9 -Wellness

10 -Reason to live


CHALLENGE: make an intentional effort to step off the hamster wheel to seek meaning through connection, purpose, creativity, and experience. Collect memories that tell a story of making the most of every moment.

I Know YOU Can Do It!


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