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Time undone

March 4, 2017

I can still remember when time was too abundant to seem valuable. Growing up as a child, when one was just flushing summers and whole months, years, down the drain without any concern that time was being spent, that time was being consumed. There was no such awareness. Because of course, to a child, time is the gray brick wall that stands between you and Christmas morning. It’s the brick wall between you and the time it takes to bike down to the lake, to spend all those erratic hours. There was nothing that kept us away from being where we should be, there and then. We were simply living as trapped in the amber of every moment given to us, without even reflecting about it.

Nowadays I wear a watch on my arm. Keeping track of time is essential for perceiving what’s happening around us and responding to it, right? Just imagine how your perception of time slows down, as you see a car crash on the road ahead of you. Also imagine how time speeds up, when you’re wheeling around a dance floor in love, filled with joy.

In comparison to our younger years, we now tell our friends and family we have no time for all the things we want to do. For this reason, I have wanted to stop time. It isn’t because I don’t see any value in the future, but it’s because time itself is what makes us here. And by this I mean here and now. How come this constant challenge is so hard to manage? Maybe it’s because we don’t understand time, even though we keep trying to measure it more and more accurately in all our actions.

Last night it was a starlit sky in Berlin. I stood on the balcony and the air was clear and chilly. Some people who watch the stars stick with the traditional feeling of being “completely struck by the epic beauty”, or even “blown away by the insane scale of the universe”. I used to think this as well. But nowadays I tend to instead go for the occult and existential meltdown, followed by acting weird for the next half hour, trying to figure out life, time, purpose, future and me. All at once. (… it’s fueling further having a roof window in the bedroom, right over the bed, as if you don’t already have enough existential thoughts right before going to sleep.) Anyway, everyone feels something when looking up, watching that starry, infinite sky.

I tend to wrap my thoughts up by thinking that humanity is just a lonely orphan on a tiny rock, in the middle of a vast and starry universe. When I stand there on the balcony freezing my ass off because it’s yet just March, thinking this, it opens the door just a crack that maybe, just maybe, there might be more to the story than we realize. Now that’s a reason to find our way back, to when we were trapped in the amber of the moment, and when time was too abundant to seem valuable. Time will conquer us all anyway, so let’s stay humble.

to sleep.