I wake up slowly these days. There is space in my life to watch the sunrise, to burrow my face into my fluffy cat before I drink my coffee and check today’s posted job opportunities. There usually aren’t that many, but I apply for the ones that are applicable and have another cup of coffee. I think about time a lot, as I always have.
I can’t seem to grasp the concept of time – it’s so abstract, malleable, subjective. Take past, present and future for example: the past and the future are quite easily defined, one meaning all those things that has already passed and the other all those things yet to be. But how can we define the present? Is it that microsecond when the future is rendered past? Or is it a series of tiny futures linked together by close proximity in both time and space, i.e. drinking said cup of coffee? If the present were only to consist of that microsecond, one might say that it is inadmissible and irrelevant. However, the microsecond of present time is also what defines the past and the future – meaning that if the present were to be dismissed, neither past nor future could function, as their existence is based solely on the existence of the present.
The present could also be seen as the abstract awareness of our brain transforming expectations and worries into memories, a subjective experience of an objective occurrence. An example could be reading a poem, where the present would be defined within the time after you picked up the book, but before having finished reading it. The present is usually anchored in the physical reality, ‘living in the present’ generally means experiencing and enjoying colors, smells and sounds, while emotions are based in either expectations on the future of memories of the past.
I might be rambling, I probably am. The dump truck is passing by with its melody of “thunk-ta-thunk-ta-clonk”, and whatever the present may be – an abstract phenomenon or the formation of lines around my eyes or a chapter in a book – I intend to take a deep breath and enjoy it as much as possible. To let things go and be what they are.
Whenever I think of time, I think of Kurt Vonnegut. I recite his Slaughter-house 5 in my head, smiling and wanting to hug this man I will never meet. I agree with him, and his little green hand-shaped Tralmafadorians:
“Earthlings are great explainers, explaining why this event is structured as it is, telling how other events may be achieved or avoided. I am a Tralmafadorian, seeing all time as you might see a stretch of the Rocky Mountains. All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all bugs in amber.”
So it goes.