0423 – muddled time

A couple of things happened today that made me think about the passage of time. An ex-colleague visited the office, and the delightful incubator/cafe place I get my coffee from (JFDI– downstairs from my office) is packing up.

Time is passing every day. We’re technically only ever here in the present moment. But at the same time there seem to be milestones that signal some sort of ‘end of an era’. Or triggers that take you back to old times. [1]

I mean… I don’t know, man. I’m 25 now. I’m trying to remember what it was like to be 5, 10, 15, 20. I feel like I do remember quite a few of those things, but at the same time… a lot of it is reconstructed, isn’t it? Memories aren’t recalled, they’re recreated. So I don’t know. Does it really matter? What is the “it” I’m talking about when I ask “does it really matter”? A proper relationship with the past, I guess. Is it ever possible to really have a good one? It feels like meditation will yield the proper answer, but for some reason I’m hesitating and procrastinating on the meditating. I should think about that one. Or maybe not. I don’t know. I don’t know anything!

Something I’ve always said and thought that I wanted to do was to dig through all of my old Facebook posts and messages and comments and so on. And I sort of started doing that– I’m not sure if it was the best way, I was going through my activity log, and started in 2007. And I saw old prom pictures, and old people that I used to talk to but not very much anymore. I was hoping for some sort of insight and perspective on how much I’ve grown, how much I’ve changed. But there’s not a lot, really. I would blabber on and on a lot about a lot of things. I was prone to interrupting people and pointing out mistakes. I was an annoying smartass. It was how I got my kicks, how I got my validation. And I was a serial humblebragger. I didn’t really see any alternative. I didn’t have any accomplishments at the time. So I’d just debate people on the Internet. Reading it now, it all looks a little contrived. I suppose it’s all a sort of “playground politics”– what we invest our time and energy into when we don’t have any real stakes to play with, any real resources to invest or expend.

That’s the case with teenage social circles, isn’t it? Paul Graham had a sense of it in one of his essays about why nerds aren’t more popular, and how schools are like this artificial environment where rivalries fester. That’s just my interpretation, I can’t remember the details and I’m getting a little too tired to look things up. So… I was living in this sort of Potemkin world, nothing of real significance, nothing of real consequence.

I’m scrolling through current-day Facebook now, after looking at the walls of text and lengthy arguments I was having with people in 2011 and 2012, and I’m seeing that I can’t bring myself to get involved any more. I’m not sure if I’m just tired from my daily work, and I’m thinking about all the other work obligations I have, or if I can actually say that I’ve grown out of this stuff. I’d like to think it’s the latter, and that if I was well-rested I’d look at the wall-of-text and still think “Eh, that’s your opinion and I’m not really going to make a positive difference by challenging you to a debate on your public wall.” If it’s really important to me that you get a more rigorous understanding of something– then I’ll ask you out, and I’ll ask you what you think, and I’ll ask you a bunch of questions. We’ll make progress a lot faster. I suppose when I was younger that didn’t seem like an option, or nearly as valid an option. I was really broke at the time. I don’t know. I don’t need to explain or justify who I was to anybody. I know THAT. So why do I try to do it? I’m trying to make sense to myself, or maybe I’m just trying to fill in the wordcount.

All of this is part of the plan, all of this was expected. Nothing surprising here.

I need to “forgive myself” in many ways. And I need to just recognize that I already have everything I’ll ever need, and that I could resolve a lot of things by making slightly better decisions. Why aren’t I doing it? Because I like the drama? I like the stimuli? I want things to be a bit dangerous, a bit sexy, a bit emo? At 25 now, when I look at how I was writing when I was 21, I think, “Wow, that’s a lot of wasted energy and motion just fluffing around.” What will I be thinking at 30, looking back at 25? I think I’ll be thinking… “Why weren’t you meditating? Why weren’t you exercising? Why weren’t you eating better? You knew all along that those were the right things to do, why were you waiting? What were you waiting for? What was stopping you?”

I can’t quite put my finger on it. How many nights do you need to sleep on something before the answer comes to you fully formed in a dream, and/or upon waking? Each time I get a chance to speak to myself, I feel like saying… pay attention. Listen up. Breathe deep. Be big, be expansive, you already know.

I wanted to write about time. There is only now. It is painful to overthink. I am tired.

[1] I haven’t read Proust, but my understanding is that his magnum opus “In Search Of Lost Time” is a lot about this sort of thing. I wonder if I’ll ever read it. It’s over 4,200 pages. I’m looking up the Wiki now. I suppose I might read it sometime. I suppose a lot of things.

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