Monday, 20 February 2012

A series of unconnected and possibly incoherent thoughts

It is a truth universally acknowledged that time speeds up and slows down at certain points in your life. It's also a truth universally acknowledged that a female blogger will start at least one post with an Austen reference. 

Of course, it isn't actually a truth. Time stays exactly the same, whatever is going on in your life. But it definitely feels that way. I distinctly remember feeling that the term time until Christmas was interminable. I remember wending my way to school just after half term and not being able to face the fact that I had six weeks of this dreary shit to get through before Christmas. Yes, I've always been a happy go lucky type.

As you get older, time, of course, starts to speed up. You don't notice it at first. You're 18, you've still got years and years left before you have to do anything as ridiculous as getting a job. You're a university fresher. Freaking ages to go before you have to any actual work. You're at your first job. It's pretty shit but you just know you have decades to work out what it is you want to do. You're living with your first boyfriend at 23 but you've got forEVER before you have to decide about marriage, kids or what the hell is going to happen in your future.

And then suddenly you're nearly 36 and looking around going: "What the fuck was that?" That, my dear, was 36 years of your life. If you're lucky you'll have the same time over again and maybe a bit more. If you're unlucky you could easily be way more than half way through your time on this planet.

It always seems vitally important to people to live without regret. I don't. I have loads of regrets. I regret all SORTS of things. Moments in time when I could have made one decision and didn't. I made the other. Of course, it's all made me what I am today etc, etc, but who's to say that I wouldn't have been a better person if I'd taken the other option? Kind of like that Sliding Doors movie with Gwynnie. Except not as shit. Of course it's a pointless endeavour, looking back. And it does always seem that a decent wodge of time between now and whatever horrendous event ripped your particular cosy world apart whenever it was (cos there will be something in everyone's life that caused their world to shift on its foundations and never look quite the same again) fades the pain into the background and one day you wake up and realise you've realised the nirvana of our lives - perspective.

I've been thinking a lot about what connects us. To each other and to our history and to our future. To our family and our friends and strangers. To the decisions we help shape and the events we see played out. Do we all make a difference? Is everyone inextricably linked in an endless dance where we repeat the same actions. After all, is anyone really that different to anyone else? We all eat, shit, sleep and fuck. Most procreate. Some don't. But we all have to go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. We all have to face the fact that we will one day not exist and work out the best way we can spend the time we have.

I believe life is played out in the minutae of every day details. It is these events that bear the ramifications that shape who you are and how your future will be. I don't believe in fate. I don't believe that there is a guiding spiritual force at work. I don't believe in predetermination and I don't believe in god. In fact, all I can believe in and all I can know is myself. People carry their universe in their head. One situation, one event, one fact, and yet endless different interpretations from the perpretrator, the victim, the voyeur, the onlooker, the son, the daughter, the mother, the father, the child. How can we ever hope to penetrate the thick web of misreading and misunderstanding that must exist in our relationships with each other? When everyone secretly thinks they, and only they, are really correct?

It seems to me it's a fundamental need that we all think that we're a little bit smarter, a little bit brighter, a little bit more special than the person next  to us. Some of us seem to think that we're streets ahead of the person next to use, without actually considering that one person's understanding of the world can't be any more correct or important that another's. I know that I do this. All of the time. I'm judgemental, I'm sometimes elitist, I'm impatient and I have an unshakeable faith in my own intellectual prowess. Despite that fact that I've never won a game of Scrabble in my life and I couldn't solve a quadratic equation if you paid me. I also didn't really know where York was until I had to learn. I'm woefully unversed in politics and science. I think physics is some kind  of magic and chemistry some kind of soothsaying alchemy. I just don't understand how people can get their heads around that shit. And yet, when I have a conversation about politics in the pub. Or about current affairs. Or art. Or history, I often think I'm right in the face of the very real probability that I'm not.

I started this post thinking about how time seems to be speeding up as the date of my big move approaches. About five minutes ago I had eight weeks before I had to move. Now I'm down to four. I have no idea what happened to the time. What I do know is that it'll in about five minutes time it'll be 20 March and I'll be leaving Leamington Spa behind. And I'm not sure what to think about that at all.

But I guess all I can do is what everyone has to do. Wake up in the morning and get on with it.

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