I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of time. Despite the clock’s regularity the experience of time seems to change constantly. It is a fascinating construct of our collective imaginations that often highlights the oddities of existence.
Like when I’m in the middle of something enjoyable—entrenched in writing or reading a book I love—I completely lose track of time. Hours can go by unnoticed. I don’t need to drink, eat or sleep. The terms of my existence are suspended until I become aware of the time once again.
On the other side, during an exhausting workout I’ve found seconds to weigh on top of one another as though wading through quicksand, every step suspended in slow motion. The more attention paid, the longer each second feels, giving time for extensive internal dialogue (often trying to remember why I thought doing burpees was a good idea in the first place.)
I’ve knowingly been in the middle of making a memory I know I’ll want to keep forever and felt that no amount of time will ever suffice. I’ve felt it as a combination of the first two types of time, alternately lost in the joy of presence and yet hyperaware of the seconds as they pass by. The knowledge of their distancing felt as grief within the joy.
I’ve been in a car crash that made milliseconds slow down and spread out before me in crystal clarity. Like Sherlock Holmes, having time in my head to think about my body positioning, brace my foot, put my head down, see the road that was no longer spread out before me, the trees to the right, the boulders to the left. To feel the weightlessness of the car in midair. To be aware of the other four people in the car with me. And perhaps most bizarre of all, the absolute objectivity of my own reactions. No emotions, no fear, just a knowledge of exactly what was happening in that precise moment in time and space. There was no need to hurry, the moment provided plenty of time.
I can’t say there is a particular reason behind this post, other than its observational nature. It just seems that in the many disparate books I’m currently reading, ranging from the esoteric to quantum physics to dystopia, the theme of time—specifically time as a construct—arises over and over.
I’ve noticed that with writing this is how a lot of themes start for me. Something comes up over and over again in my life. I don’t understand why or what, if anything, it means to me. And then I am compelled to explore it in depth. In this case I already know it is weaving itself into my current work in progress. What form it takes is yet unknown, but I expect it will become apparent at some later point.
In the meantime, I’m going to be grateful for time the same way I am for yoga pants. A little forgiving elasticity makes the ups and downs (and ins and outs) of life and waistlines a lot more comfortable.