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hominid's avatar

How often are you truly aware that you are doing something for the last time?

Asked by hominid (7347points) March 5th, 2015

In my experience, the last time doing anything seems to slip by unnoticed 100% of the time. Looking at my kids now as they get older, one day I was changing a diaper for the last time and didn’t notice. I carried my daughter on my back and didn’t give one thought to it being the last time.

Are people generally aware that there are a limited number of times we do anything, including the obvious, such as get up in the morning and see our loved ones? Do you ever accurately see this last time as being the last time? Or does it just pass unnoticed?

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14 Answers

chyna's avatar

Great question. My brother died unexpectedly last week and I had talked to him on the phone a few days before. For the last time. With no way of knowing. I know we talked of a lot of things, but all I remember was laughing with him about our dogs.

anniereborn's avatar

Well of course most of us don’t know exactly when a loved on is gonna die. or even oneself. But I actually do think about this a lot when I KNOW something is the last time or most likely is. It’s hard for me becuz I tend to get quite emotional about such things.(unless it’s something quite unpleasant)

fluthernutter's avatar

When it comes to my kids, I usually do. My husband teases me for making a big fuss over The Last Diaper or such.

Cupcake's avatar

I’ve been acutely aware of this with my most recent pregnancy and baby. We have done all we can to not have another child biologically, as we planned when I was last pregnancy.

It has seemed to make time move both slower and faster. The very hard infant parenting issues have been tempered by the knowledge that we won’t be doing this again. Even the exhausting sleepless nights have been more tolerable with this reflection.

I feel more in-the-moment, but I struggle to not waste my time and mental energy on, “oh no, I won’t be doing this again.” What I mean to say is that with effort, I am more in-the-moment. It is a conscious decision.

I appreciate the little things more, feel love more intently and do not get as caught up in the difficult.

Pachy's avatar

I retired two years ago. Exiting the building where I had worked for almost eight years and the career I had plied for more than six times that, final paycheck in hand, I realized in a happy-sad flash that this was truly a monumental chapter closing in my life. Since then, not a day goes by I’m not reminded of it.

Mariah's avatar

Oh no, condolences, @chyna. :(

I’m apparently terrible at noticing this which is probably a blessing right now since I’m graduating college in 2 months and going through a lot of sad lasts.

Just yesterday was the last day of tutoring for this quarter, and I was hanging out at the tutoring center with 5 of my coworkers and when I had to leave one of them was like, “Well, it’s been real, Rachel.”

It caught me hugely off guard. All 5 of them are studying abroad next quarter so I probably will never see them again. I hadn’t even thought of it till the one guy pointed it out.

It’s so weird.

hominid's avatar

I have thought what it would be like if we had access to some kind of countdown indicator for everything, and how that would affect our experience. Would seeing the number tick down each time we visit or call our mother or even just play a board game with the family make us really be there and appreciate how precious the moment really is? Or would we burn down the counter and only pay attention when the numbers got really low? I mean, we all know that there aren’t that many of anything we experience, and we are likely to miss these things when they are gone. Yet we treat them as permanent. Maybe the alternative to the sci-fi countdown indicator is to just pay full attention and appreciate every moment as though it were the last time doing it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The realization makes me a little sad. That’s how I feel about some of the people who have left here. Months later I might decide to send something and see that their account is gone. :-(

Blackberry's avatar

Just going through the motions and hoping it ends some day. I’ll usually realize after the fact.

ucme's avatar

You awarding me a GA, for the first & probably last time, should be cherished forever <sob whimper>

ibstubro's avatar

No two moments of time are exactly the same, so, essentially every time we do something, we do it for the only time.

No matter how mundane, each moment of our lives is unique in some way. There are no do-overs, and there’s no promise of another second, much less another day. The most you can hope for is being aware of as many individual moments in a minute, an hour, a year and a lifetime as possible.

Human’s attach a grandiosity to their own lives that they don’t warrant.

longgone's avatar

Hardly ever. Sometimes, I am aware of leaving a certain place I am unlikely to ever return to. When I left Korea, as a teen, I was very aware of leaving. I thought about seeing the apartment for the last time, smelling that damp, hot air for the last time…then again, I was giddy at the thought of going home, so I’m not sure I appreciated it fully even then.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

The pain this question brings out in me is hard to describe. Very foolishly, even though I’m fully aware of the backward ticking in everything, I choose to overlook it, sweep it under the carpet, pretend it is not happening. I know it is not the way to deal with it, especially when it comes to family and friends. Aware of it? Yes, fully aware. Brave enough to face and appreciate it? No, I do not want to look at this unbeatable enemy( time ) in the face.

ucme's avatar


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