Time unites all humans, we are all constrained by it and march to its beat. We all have an allotted amount, a precious supply that starts to dwindle the day we are born. Time has one speed, the speed at which you live and take each breath. But reflecting on time would lead you to draw different conclusions. Remember how it seems like yesterday that you were a kid? Remember how it seems like yesterday that your kids were kids? That you were young? Looking back, time flies.
There are also moments in life when time seems to slow down, to advance in slow motion as though allowing for a study of the details. Never stopping, but certainly slowing. Life and death moments, when people enter and leave this world. I watched my grandfather take his last breath on a cold November day; I watched my daughter as she took her first breath on a cold February day. Time is all that separates them, all that keeps them from meeting. I span that time, also bound by time, just one link in the chain that connects them. For me both of these moments are vivid in my memory, those specific days seemingly endless as I lived them, yet I can feel time tearing at them as it passes, the edges fraying. Time has many speeds.
Life, memories, feelings, thoughts, desires, they are no match for time. Time is relentless, merciless, unprejudiced. Humankind has dammed massive rivers, gone to the moon, and mapped the human genome, but man cannot stop time, slow time down, or escape its bounds. Eventually all things are faded by time, physical structures, ideas, and emotions. The people with you when you are born, the people who brought you into the world, won’t be there to see you slip out of it. Time removes them and leaves in their place the ones you brought into the world. You watched them come into the world, they will watch you leave as your last bit of time slips away.
Make your time count.
When I turned 20, my friends reminded me I was half way to 40. They forgot to mention 30. People often seem to forget 30, it’s the age at which you’re old, but not so old that people think of you as old. Your 30’s are the decade you can benefit from all the lessons you learned in your 20’s before you hit your 40’s and have a mid-life crisis, reverting back to the stupidities of your 20’s (just kidding). At 30 people respect your opinions and ideas just because of your age, you made it out of your 20’s so you must be doing something right. Only 3 years separate someone who is 28 from someone who is 31, yet the gulf between them seems so wide, whereas someone who is 38 seems equal to someone who is 41. The 20’s shouldn’t get too bad a rap however, it’s your 20’s that shape your adult life. If you can figure things out, work hard, stay out of trouble, and use the excuse of your youth to ask questions and charge heedlessly into the unknown, you can learn a lot and get ahead. Who you are when you enter your 20’s and who you are when you leave can be unrecognizable, hopefully in the positive sense.
Have you ever wanted to be smart, sexy, smell good, and have the ability to read peoples minds? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Don’t worry, you’re the only one who will get this special deal. You will be unique among your friends, elevated among mere mortals. You will have it before it’s popular. A trendsetter, yet still aloof and individualistic. Not mainstream in any way, yet coveted by the mainstream. Not convinced? Check out these other people who have it, they look happy. Look how many friends they have. Do you smell that? They sweat yet still smell like roses, spend money yet still have piles in reserve, drive fast yet never get tickets, drink like an 80’s hair band yet never get hungover. They have it. You want it. Bad. You can’t live without this. You will literally not be happy until it is yours. It’s a small price to pay for eternal and ultimate satisfaction. This will reshape your life, turn your garbage into gold, place a crown upon your head. You will float on clouds, read peoples minds, live a charmed life.
You need this in order to be happy. Trust me.
Back to reality.
The above is my best attempt at mimicking the marketing I (and you) am bombarded with daily, hourly, secondly(sp?). It has made me increasingly cynical, increasingly suspicious, and increasingly sick of the non-stop barrage. Things don’t bring happiness. Is anyone still unaware of this? Michael Jackson had his own theme park and zoo…at his house. Do you think he died happy? The marketers must go to increasing lengths to keep selling us the old lie. Now they have to resort to marketing that does not appear like marketing less we realize they are up to their old tricks. Where does it stop, when does it end? I’ve stopped paying attention to the rampant and blatant product placement in films and television. Is there anything that’s not brought to us by the makers of something? Even fruits and vegetables are branded. Thanks for reading, now I’m going to turn off my MacBook Pro, plug in my iPhone, get my Starbucks coffee ready and hit the road in my Honda filled with gasoline provided by the Shell company and drive to the mall brought to me by American Express to buy some more cheap plastic crap that I don’t need. Just kidding…sort of.
This post brought to you commercial free by Google and Comcast.
Once a year comes a day when we are specifically reminded to give thanks (at least in the United States). Hopefully most of you out there are thankful more than once a year, but if that’s all you can manage then it’s better than nothing. I want to take a minute to list in no particular order some things I personally am thankful for.
- My beautiful wife
- The people who surround me and support me (You know who you are)
- Employment that pays the bills while letting me do something I love
- Al Gore – for inventing the internet (Actually, that’s a joke)
- Modern medicine
- Freedom – It wouldn’t be possible without the sacrifice that many have made
- Role models – For taking the high road when it wasn’t easy
- Choice – The absence of choice is tyranny
- Sight (it makes it all possible)
- Genuine conversation with another person
- Positive people – We wouldn’t have Thanksgiving without them
- Pumpkin pie with whipped cream
This list could go on and on and for that I’m thankful.
It was the middle of summer, sometime in July. The three youngish friends had met at the donut shop to wolf down some empty calories and then transitioned down to the beach for some people watching. Leaning against a vehicle they gazed out at the water and talked about the old days, the glory days, the “better from a distance than they actually were” days.
As they relaxed and chatted, an old man approached from the north. He had a purposeful stride and a focused gleam in his eye. His pants were high waisted, his shirt was tightly tucked, his white hair perfectly parted and firmly held in place with some kind of hair spray. As he drew near to the three he let out a cheery “Hello!”. The youngish men replied in turn and continued talking amongst themselves, or at least they tried to for the old man had joined their circle. Gesturing toward some houses in the distance he loudly told the three that he had grown up in one of the houses, that he used to play on the railroad tracks that ran nearby, and that the town was a lot smaller back then. The taller one of the three youngish men politely engaged the old man in conversation, asking questions and uttering exclamations of amazement at appropriate intervals. The other two listened with reserved interest, wondering when the old man might finish his stories and move on. But any interest in his stories only encouraged the old man, and he proceeded to tell his life history, condensed into 20 minutes. He had been in the military (thanks for your service), liked blueberry pancakes, and drove a blue Cadillac XLR with the top down. “Boys” he said, “let me tell you how to become a millionaire like myself. Put everything you can out of every paycheck into your 401k. But be careful, it’s a lot harder to take money from your paycheck and put it into investments than it is to have it automatically deducted from your paycheck. The automatic deductions also get the money put away before your wife starts spending it. I never made more than $25 dollars an hour in my career and now I’m one of those millionaires you hear about on TV. I did it all through compound interest” With that he was gone. Words of wisdom hanging in the air.
The three youngish friends looked at one another with puzzled smiles, amused at what had transpired. While he may have unfairly stereotyped the spending habits of women, there were certainly pearls of wisdom in his tale. As they stood and discussed the old mans advice, a beautiful blue Cadillac XLR whizzed by, top down, perfectly parted white hair not blowing in the wind, but held perfectly in place by some kind of hair spray.
Hair spray not included