Weekend Prompt: Poised On An Arch Of A Grand Cycle Of Time
What is Time?
Tick Tock, here are my thoughts
The future is far away
The past was only yesterday
1999 was only ten years ago
2025 is some far-flung fantasy sci-fi year.
All of these lies about time are easy to believe inside my mind. I cannot believe how much time has passed and how quickly it slips through my fingers. I feel like I am barely out of childhood, and I can’t help but groan aloud when I realize that “the '90s” were 30 years ago.
When I stand in the present and look backwards, I can see my life and all of the things that have happened. I see events stretched out like markers on a road. I can see where things got bumpy, where I took a slight detour, and where I could have turned onto a different path.
My husband and I were chatting about how the internet has changed the world. When it was created, those who made it could never have known what their experiment would lead to. They created it to see what they could do, to push, to innovate, and that thought has shaped how the internet has changed all of our lives.
The amazing connection that it has provided has brought together minds and ideas that may never have met. Cultures and perspectives clash and question, forcing people to think beyond themselves. Information that used to take weeks, months, or years to share can now be accessed at the end of a search bar.
Our lifetime has seen the rise of this new information superhighway. I can remember a time when the world seemed much smaller. I remember the world of information accessibility opening like a great silver door.
I remember learning the dewy decimal system in elementary, and by high school realizing that I was probably one of the last groups to learn it. The ability to look things up so quickly was a gift of time that I could use on other things. The price of that gift was the romance of wandering the library, meandering between the stacks and watching the titles and authors glide past.
In a sort of sick twist of fate, this thing that gives us so much time back also steals our time in the form of endless information and endless entertainment. We end up distracted from our reasons for opening our browser. We lose hours that we should have been writing papers on youtube rabbit holes that inevitably end in 3 am cat video montages.
When we are kids, time is not something we concern ourselves with too much. The fun days fly by, but a decade is an inconceivable unit of experience. When we are 10, the 20-year-olds we see are so very adult, and when we are 20, we feel like we were 10 only a few years ago. By the time I climbed the ladder to 30, I wondered when my “official adult” handbook would arrive. It must have gotten lost in the mail.
We expect time to change us, but unless we make good use of it, all it will do is give us wrinkles and anxiety.
Time is constant, even if our perception of it is not. The mechanics of the universe spin around the individual steadily, ignoring our cries for it to slow down so we can catch up. Even if we could slow time, physics and the eggheads that know about physics tell us that we too would slow in equal measure.
We can choose instead to use our time wisely. We can use it to learn and grow or we can waste it watching cat videos. Time does not change who we are, but we can use it to change ourselves.
We can never catch up, but we can catch on.
Our memories are moments in time. In my mind, when I view them I can almost feel my past self slowing down, observing the moment more clearly. At the time, I am sure it was simply a moment, something to get through and onto the next moment. It is only my retrospective imbues it with a special significance.
This shift in how I view my memories often leads me to question moments in the present. Is this moment one that I will look back on? Will this be the moment I write of in ten years when I talk about how my life changed?
Perhaps, I should not ask the question. Perhaps I should instead tell my future and my past self: “This is the moment I will change my life.”
Time is itself, but it is also many other things. It is the change we have witnessed and the constant motion of the universe. It is our memories and our future. It is the currency which we exchange for experience and the unheard soundtrack to our daily lives.
Time is a finite resource, much more precious than any jewel, yet so much less regarded.
Thank you to 𝘋𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘢 𝘊. for continuing to supply us with amazing prompts like this one!