Five Thoughts About Time

Here’s all I really know (for now) about how time works:

  1.  I cannot move through time any faster than you or anything else on this planet. Your individual conscious experience of the passage of time may be different from mine, and that individual experience is also relative internally. Our own experience of time may speed up or slow down as our engagement with the world changes from moment to moment.

  2. I cannot change the direction I move through time. Either I’m moving from the present moment to the future moment, or I don’t exist. I may remember the past vividly, but I can never actually return there.

  3. We can each expect the same number of minutes and hours to use in a day as everyone else on earth. How we choose to use that daily allotment is completely up to us.

  4. We can never really be sure how much time we have left.

  5. Every choice we make about how to use our daily time and attention is building our own path toward the future.  

You are on your path right now. Even when you are still, you are moving forward. In a way, moving through time isn’t even something we do but something that happens to us, to everyone.

If we imagine the future, it is often described in a metaphor as what’s “just around the corner” or ” just over that hill” or “across the sea.” We agree it is unknown, uncertain at least, but we are all moving toward it at the same speed. We may choose to bring pieces of the past with us, but recognize that it will becomes a burden we must manage.

If you want to hold on to the past, you must figure out how to carry it. If you want to affect your future, you must act in the moment you have now.

Dear Eric

It has now been one year since you died. I’m not sure we’ll ever know what happened to you, only that you were alone when your car left the road late at night, hit something at high speed, and you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. You didn’t survive. You were only a little more than a year older than me.

In some ways I’m surprised it’s only been one year since the accident; so much has happened in the past twelve months it feels like your death happened in a whole different world than where we are now. But emtionally, this anniversary is touching something raw within me, this first loop around the calendar back to a date I had pushed away from my mind. I think it was the suddenness of it, the shock, the seeming randomness of your accident that knocked me off balance.

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