Lost in Time

Last evening, for just a minute, I mentally lost track of the days. I normally don’t keep track if I go for long periods with nothing planned, so I frequently don’t know what day it is, but I generally have a sense of where I am in the week, whether it is at the beginning, middle, or end. But yesterday, I hadn’t a clue.

It was a bit disorienting, sort of like being on the verge of waking up from a deep sleep and thinking you have to go to school then you remember it’s Saturday and anyway, you’ve been out of school for decades. I couldn’t immediately go check my phone to find out the day of the week, so I tried to think of something I did during the day to give me an idea of where I was.

I finally remembered I emailed my time sheet that morning, something I do only on Thursdays, so I was able to reorient myself. But yikes. What a strange feeling that was, being lost in time.

It makes me wonder how important time is for our well-being.

[I had to pause here to look up the spelling of well-being. I wanted to use two words without a hyphen, but spellcheck insisted it was one, unhyphenated word. It turns out that the hyphen is correct because when you combine an adjective and a verb, the hyphen is necessary for the words to become one. It used to be that the hyphenated version was correct in the USA and Canada, and the non-hyphenated version prevalent in other English-speaking countries, but the word has started to lose its hyphen in North America now.]

Whether knowing where I am in time is important for my well-being, obviously, being grammatically correct is.

Before there were days of the week to keep track of, maybe it didn’t matter. People were always where they were supposed to be, in their family or clan or tribe or whatever, so it didn’t really matter what day it was. Until increasing populations and civilization made days of the week and calendars imperative, I imagine there were no days but today and yesterday and perhaps tomorrow.

[Why isn’t it tomorrowday? I had to stop to find out this vital fact. “Morrow” is an archaic word meaning “the following day,” so tomorrowday would be redundant. Tomorrow used to be hyphenated — to-morrow — until the fifteenth century when it became one word, so losing hyphens isn’t simply a sign of modern laziness.]

I seem to have strayed far from my topic, which is . . . me. Well, me being lost in time. So far today, I know exactly where I am. Saturday, perhaps. Or maybe it’s Sunday. I’m joking; actually, it’s Friday. I think.


Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

8 Responses to “Lost in Time”

  1. Uthayanan Says:

    Lost in time. Subject very interesting. What I try to understand is :
    Not knowing what time you are in or how to get back to your original time. It is very important for a child, adolescent, adults, couples, and every day working people to nearly everybody. What happened for a person in grief who lost in time specially after 59-60 years ?. It happened to me that I lost the notion of time yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Some way years.
    Is it possible the one completely lost in time in a way no more the same person. How the person can get back to his original time. I wonder for the last four years.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I don’t think you ever go back. You just have to reestablish yourself in the present.

      • Uthayanan Says:

        Thank you and it is obviously evident to reestablish myself in the present. I have no choice at all. I am brooding something different.
        I am calm and apt for every day intelligent and intellectual work imposed by every day life. I have an impression some of my mental strength still lacking.
        What I would like to know that means to get back (lost in time) to read, listen music, Intellectual works (except IT technical problems), go to conference, concert or visiting entertainment events is impossible at the moment. As a pragmatic person and a learner theoretically everything possible but practically not.

  2. Estragon Says:

    Being lost in time can be quite disorienting and even disturbing. Another analogy might be when we’ve driven some distance, yet have no recollection of having done so. It’s scary to think what might have happened while our mind went wherever it goes.

    Having said that though, it can sometimes be a rather calming thing. There have been times, particularly alone and isolated at my cabin, when the contrived time of humans gives way to the natural time of my surroundings. Time is marked by the changing of light, weather, and even the seasons. It’s a feeling of synchronicity rather than of being out of touch with the push/pull of civilization and the expectations of others.

    There’s a theory in psychology wherein our brains use the “default mode” network when we aren’t actively engaged in something requiring our focus or concentration. Daydreaming while walking a familiar route is an example. This can be a good thing if it stimulates creativity, but can sometimes lead to rumination and feedback cycles of anxiety, depression, etc. Keeping the surroundings at the cabin in some degree of immediate focus seems to help promote the former and minimize the latter for me.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Default mode is important in dealing with grief, too. During that first year, the brain is on overdrive because of all the input (old habits are suddenly dead, and it needs to figure out new ways of doing things that it hadn’t thought about in ages) and all the brain chemicals and stress hormones that are produced. Add to that the need most of us have to try to figure out what it’s all about and how to do what we need to do and how to get through the day, that it stuns the mind into immobility, which is the cause of widow’s and widower’s brain — numbness and inability to think. The only way through that I know of is to stop thinking, go walking and letting the mind do what it wants to do. That helps tremendously to get rid of some of the pressure.

      That’s a good idea about keeping something in immediate focus. I’ll have to remember that the next time my rumination leads me into cycles of obsessing and circular thinking.

  3. Elisabet Regina Says:

    I have that feeling most of the time being home in a complex with in a city and no car- too far to walk anywhere.

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