“Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
As I was looking back at some pictures from a get together with a group of friends I saw a picture of the clock on their wall, not really significant, but it flooded my mind with an idea.
Why does “time fly” sometimes and drag on in others?
While my fiance and I were there with our closest friends having drinks, playing games, eating awesome food, there wasn’t a thought about time. There was no waiting for something else to happen or something going on to end, just focusing on exactly what we were doing. So, we stayed for around 4 hours, and before we knew it, it was 1AM and time to go home. Nothing too special about this, but comparing it to 4 hours of something that I enjoy less, like church, or school, or sometimes work, it was like a second. In fact, the more I’ve thought about it, it wasn’t like a second at all; it was something entirely different.
It’s almost like time stops becoming a factor or even existing.
When many people (myself oftentimes) are at their day jobs they experience an uncomfortable feeling of longing to be somewhere else instead of their job; playing video games, spending time with friends or significant others, reading, hiking, etc. And so they watch the clock, waiting for their shift to be over so they can pursue something else. If this has ever been you, you can see the stark contrast between that and the time spent doing something you love.
This, I believe, is the difference between living and limbo. When I’m engaged in a task or activity or just thinking about something actively, time stops becoming a factor completely. It’s as if it doesn’t exist anymore, and in someway, it doesn’t. Time is one singular event. It can also be called existence, or now. When we wish that now was something it’s not it can have two effects: either action, in thought or deed, or limbo. Limbo, in the way I’m using the term, is a reference to a state of inbetweenness. Not really being present, but also not in the future or past.
If I was at work or somewhere else I considered mundane, and thought to myself “boy, I really would rather not be here”, nothing happens. I could make a decision based off of that thought, but that’s something else entirely. Until I make a decision to leave or do something different, I’m not actually living right now.. Perhaps my body is, but “me”, the self, I am lost. My thoughts aren't on what is happening or where I am but on something I wish was a reality right now, but isn’t.
What is life, if not now? Everything exists in the now, nothing in the future nothing in the past. To live is to focus on this moment, I believe that’s the great happiness. To be (both the mind and body) where you are at this moment. We must accept where we are for what it is, not that it can’t be changed, but in order to change it, we must first accept it as is; one cannot change something with intent without know what it is they are changing. One day our moment will end. What a tragedy it would be for that moment to have been spent wishing for something it wasn’t.