How do we deal with time? How does it affect our day to day experiences, relationships, choices? I’ve recently found myself in two situations that had me looking at time from completely different perspectives.
A few weeks ago, after watching a music video, I had to explain the concept of fleeting moments in a way that a young boy would understand. It was an interesting experience, because children know all about it: they live from moment to moment, learning as they go and building memories that will permeate the way they’ll deal with similar experiences in the future. What they don’t do is think about time, they don’t need it: they have all the time in the world. It’s only when they grow up that time becomes something important, pressing, oppressive, and they learn they shouldn’t waste it, shouldn’t let opportunities pass them by… Because somehow, during that growing up experience, they forget something they knew all along, since birth: focus on the moment, on what you’re doing, and you’ll have all the time in the world.
Fast forward to last weekend, to my second experience: a time capsule is being created that will be opened in 2035, and I was asked to write a letter to myself, which supposedly will be delivered almost 20 years from now. And for the second time I had to explain time to a child: could he imagine himself in 2035? What would he be? What would he tell his 26-year old self? What would he want to see?
Could I see myself 18 years from now? How will I be? What kind of world do I want to find? What new experiences will I have added to my life and memories? As a mother, I’m having the privilege to see the world through the eyes of an adult that may have already lived half her life, but also through the eyes of a child that’s just starting, learning everything and building his experiences.
So how do we deal with it? I mean, how do we create meaning when we’re constantly bombarded with the terrifying idea that moments are ephemeral, lifetimes are finite and one day we’ll discover time’s up?
Maybe we shouldn’t fear that future moment. Instead, we should learn from children and embrace the moment, living it fully, learning all we can from it, and using it as a Lego block, a tiny part made not of plastic but of time, to create meaning for… [insert here what/whom/why you would want to create meaning].
There’s no need to lose sight of that dream or ideal or goal; eternity is made of moments, and moments can be infinite in themselves. If you doubt it, go play with a child.