First semester is over. Christmas is 29 days away. I am nearly three eighths done my university education. Where has the time gone?
I remember when days used to matter. Every second was spent running up and down grassy hills and all I needed to build an airplane was my arms. Scabs licked my knee in a hate-love kind of relationship, and cooties were the only disease I worried about. Friends were in the millions, and enemies were few and far between. In fact, the only enemies I had were homework, showers, and growing up.
But eventually, I became my own evil nemesis. I grew, and time changed. The days were never again 100 years long; they became a few seconds, a brief blink of an eye, a moment forgotten and nevermore.
Now, I am left in those exact moments, wondering, questioning, and trying to hold on to what I have. I am not sure what it really is though. Is it a grand scheme of life mapping itself in front of me? Is it an understanding of myself and others? Is it the ability not to regret a moment and say every day was spent to its fullest?
No. No. And no.
Guess, then, that the only thing I can really hold on to is special relativity. Looking back on my childhood, and where I am now, I realize I changed my reference point. When I was young, I was looking at the world with a moving frame of reference. Everything was changing. Everything was always racing on ahead, and I was racing along with it. So, time crept slower.
Now, I’m at rest. I have given up on everything to settle for something: a goal, a career, an idea. So, time flows faster, almost uncontrollably. It moves without me being cognizant of the fact, and before I even finish this sentence alone, two hours have past. Where they have gone, I am not sure. I stare at a blinking black line in hopes it will give me an answer.
But it doesn’t. Time only passes quicker, and now, three hours have past, and not a word has been written.
It is here in this quickening of time, and the empty space of a page, and a blinking black line that I often pray to, where I am left with the question of what I have done with the time that I can barely call my own. Sure I have changed my reference point, and sure time has changed myself, but during those milestones, what have I done?
Accomplishments are the first to come to mind. I graduated highschool. I got into university. I won a few awards here and there. Great. Then in absence of any initial modesty, my family, who I owe everything to, follows. I shared moments with those I love from my father, my mother, my sister, and my brother – even, and perhaps especially, my two dogs. Friends join in soon after on the memory train. Lists of best friends, secret handshakes, heart-to-hearts, crying on one’s shoulder, letting them cry on to mine, and eventual betrayals all rush in a furious cerebral firework show. Sport and athletics then pushes its way into my mind after my brain’s pyrotechnics have ended. Badminton, volleyball, hockey, karate, swimming and ballet comprised both countless hours and numerous sweat stains in my lifetime. Then, love surfaces, surprisingly, hesitantly, and at times, regretfully. My first kiss, first hug, first hand held, first cradle, first laying in bed wondering about the possibility, first inability to sleep, first named whisper on my lips, first I love you, first love poem, first wonderment if I meant it, first spending an entire day nestled in the protection of immovable arms, first prom, first breakup, first breakup poem, first and only time saying you look beautiful today, first heart-ache, first regret, first denial, first acceptance, and first moving on swim into my veins and consume me whole in an eerie nostalgia where lost but lovely lips press themselves behind my ears, and finger prints long forgotten show up like a crime scene – if only for a little while. Perhaps fittingly, writing then comes to greet me in a sluggish, half-baked sort of way. All of the time that I have spent writing is a function of all I have done. From accomplishments to love, the words I write become a way to remember the time that has been spent for better or for worse.
But these moments, each special to my own being, show how much time I have truly wasted. The accomplishments are lackadaisical to others who have achieved much greater things at my age such as Einstein or Gauss. I have not known each of my family members intimately and much of my family history is an ignorant mystery to me. I have swindled many of my friends as I have dropped all connection with them as soon as I fail to see them on a regular basis. I could barely be called an athlete with average height, average skill, and average athleticism. All the lovers I have had I have failed in more ways than one. And my writing is futile because with only 60 words per minute, life will pass me by even before this paragraph is finished. When I write, when I love, when I compete, when I spend time with my family, and when I accomplish, I am but a small boat in a big ocean during a hurricane. In short, I’m fucked.
Perhaps that vulgarity solidifies all my limitations above. Maybe. But through it’s use, I am reminded of a saying of my father, “Life will pass you by quickly, and you will look at everything you have ever done, and you’ll say it was not good enough. You’ll swear. You’ll have regrets. You’ll wonder why you did this and didn’t do that. But then you’ll look at your hands, and you’ll see the work you have done. You’ll look at your family, and you’ll see the smiles you have produced. You’ll look at your wife, and you’ll see the love you can create. You’ll look at your life, with all the mistakes, regrets, and days you wish you didn’t exist, and you’ll be happy, because you lived, and life happened.”
And as my life passes me by, and my failings come to the forefront, and I am forced to question everything that I am doing at this current moment, I am left with my father’s words, “life happened.”
Whether this is a statement of optimism or pessimism has yet to be decided.