“It interests me that, despite those who preceded us here, despite everything we’ve managed in science, we haven’t got a shred of information or understanding about what happens next.” – Norman Lear, creator of All in the Family and The Jeffersons
(As told to Catherine Bradford and Gina Pell of TheWhatList.com)
300 years ago, I’d be dead already.
Like, from plague, or small pox, or a neighbor who wants my grade-A herd of sheep. 33 was a ripe old age in the 17th century, and I’d be an official old fart by now (or thrown by the side of the road, Monty Python style).
I think about that a lot. Not in a morbid way, but with mild appreciation of the fact that, having no say in the matter of where or when I was born, I’m here – living in the age of modern medicine and science, where there is every probability that I’ll live to a ripe old age of 250.
Or, y’know, we could all be killed by robots…
But, until then, WHAT are we doing with all of this insane time wealth?
We get to live not one, but THREE 17th century lifetimes. Maybe even four. Whew. It really puts time in perspective, y’know? Think of it as a video game. We get four lives, four tries (unless, of course, we’re taken out by a poisonous mushroom or fall into a giant chasm).
At this point, I’m safely into my third decade, almost at the end of my first life, and I spent the better part of it as most of my peers do: goofing off, making mistakes without much thought to the consequences, drinking my weight in alcohol. Y’know, having fuuuuuun!
17th century folk didn’t have time for that shit. They had to grow up – FAST. They had to learn how to make bread or whatever, find a partner, spread their seed, multiply their DNA before their tiny candle burned out.
Who knows? Maybe 33 years felt like a lifetime to them (because it kind of was…), but I’m staring down the barrel of many more (God willing). And even though they’re definitely moving faster and faster with every passing year, even though I freak out on the daily about having wasted so many of them with little to show for it (except a husband and two beautiful kids, duh), even though I worry connnnnstantly that I’m not spending them wisely…
I still feel the freedom of having enough time to figure it out.
But sometimes, I wonder if alllllll this time is really such a blessing. I mean, when you have so much of something, it tends to lose its value. Cookies. Money. Your carefully curated collection of circa-1990’s DVD’s.
All of this time gives us the ability to meander toward each of life’s milestones, leaving us alone with our thoughts for, like, an insane amount of years. Lots of time to question ourselves, wonder what’s next, worry about where we’ll end up. With time enough to wander through our days, there’s time enough for our thoughts to do the same.
So, I suppose the point here is really just for both of us to remember that.
After all, we’re playing a long game here, so we need to train our minds accordingly.
These giant muscles in our skulls reeeeeally love to whir and spin on their own, and left unattended, they’ll lead us down some dark alleyways and leave us stranded in desolate wastelands. With so much time on our hands, we’ve got to train adequately for the journey, work with intention to surround ourselves with positivity, seek out companions who can help to lighten our loads, and for whom we can spend our days doing the same.
Because even though there may be quite a lot of them, each and every one is precious and filled with possibility.
Unless, of course, you run into one of those poisonous mushrooms. GAME OVER.
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