Life is Like an Hourglass Glued to the Table


Anna Nalick said it well. But so did Socrates when he said, ” Our lives are but specks of dust falling through the fingers of time. Like sands of the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” As humans, we have accomplished so much since we came to exist in this world. We have tamed wild animals, developed cures for deadly diseases; found ways of predicting nature, mastered technology.

In so many ways we have the notion that we are all-powerful and invincible beings. While our pride shields us like steel armor, giving us the confidence to achieve even bigger and more advanced projects, it often makes us forget how fragile our lives truly are.

Picture life as an hourglass.

It’s label carved into the wood reading “handle with care” since this hourglass is made of the thinnest glass. We all have a certain amount of seconds, minutes and memories represented by each grain of sand. Once you set the hourglass down, the sand starts to flow down and there’s no way to stop or slow the rate at which it falls. Like it’s glued to the table.

Each grain that falls to the bottom is a moment gone, you can look at it from the outside but you can’t make it go back up again. You can think back to a memory but you can never live it again. Although you have a certain amount of seconds in your life, if you bump the hourglass too hard, the damage is done. If you let people toy with it, the glass will crack and eventually shatter.


Just like life, your hourglass is fragile.

The hourglass metaphor makes me think about the fragile nature of our lives when we lose someone close to us or we have a near-death experience. But why? It is in moments like those when reality looks at us straight in the eye and strips us from all that armor we confidently put around us. No matter how many journeys to space we make, how many species we genetically modify for our convenience, how much easier we can make our jobs with technology or cures we come up with, we will still be as fragile as we were before.

You’re still alive and that alone is a reason to smile.

All of our lives will eventually end and, the truth is, most of the time you don’t get to choose how or when. I don’t mean that we should live our lives as if we were walking on thin ice or that we can’t take pride for our accomplishments. Most of the time we take our lives for granted and we don’t appreciate the gift that we were given.

It is true that the world is facing problems that are making life tougher.

We’re choosing the bad guys as our leaders, silencing with violence those who are looking for peace, encouraging kids to embrace their differences while we oppress those who are different, and isn’t it ironic how in a globalized world there is a lack of real connection between people? In addition to that, we’re all living on tight fast-paced schedules that barely give us time to breathe and we are always so focused on school, work, chores, and superficial affairs.

Take break from your schedule and go for a walk or sit by a window. Take a deep breath, look at the sky, think of all the good things you have, come up with as many dreams as you can, hug your family, hug your pet. Stop being so scared of taking chances, and take a moment to appreciate life because if you’re reading this that means you’re still alive and that alone is a reason to smile.

Find the blessings.

The fact that our lives are as short as the blink of an eye and as fragile as a dry leaf should only make us strive to live our lives to the fullest. Fulfill all those dreams no matter how big and scary they might look. Meet as many people as we can, take chances, travel to every corner of the world, and to cherish what we have whether that is plenty or few.

Don’t live only to go to school or to work, pay rent, and wait all week for the weekend. Make the most out of your hourglass. I can guarantee you that when you’re looking at your life flashing before your eyes, you’ll be able to smile and take that last breath without a single regret.