The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

06 January 2016

The sliding scale of time

When I was a young person (and by young I mean under 20) it never entered my mind that the world would exist into the next millennium,  or that I would still be alive after 30. I couldn't picture myself, or imagine what my life would be beyond my 20's.

Here we are now, well and truly into the 21st Century.  It is 2016; sixteen years beyond the potential end-of-all-things of Y2K.  Sixteen!  The year 2020 is just around the corner, with 2025 knocking on the door of the near future.  Doesn't the number all by itself sound unfathomably SciFi?

Think about how the world had changed between 1880 to 1925.  Electricity, telephones, long-distance travel, to name only three things, had jarring and far-reaching effects of daily life. Fashion, even, went through drastic transformations in that period of time.

If you look at your own life, what it looks like from the outside and how you experience it, do you think it has altered as much?  We (mostly) all have telephones in our back pocket and have the potential to heat food in 30 seconds flat, but beyond the superficial, I don't know that we've had the same surge and scope of change that they did in the same amount of time back in Yore.

(Pardon the tangent... I got to thinking of a book Mark Steyn wrote in which he discusses contemporary man's lack of innovation. I think he's on to something.) (Back to your regularly scheduled...)

Time keeps ticking along, and calendar pages keep flipping over.  I'm beyond the oldest age I used to be able to imagine for myself, and "the future" is here.  I don't feel terribly different from that young thing I used to be, though the me of today wouldn't sleep on the church basement floor during a youth group fundraiser if you paid me a fortune (even if prorated for the cost of living), and I  constantly find myself making comments about "kids today!" and how the doctor must be all of 12 years old.

Have you ever noticed how there is  innate beauty in youth?  Brand new people are beautiful simply because they are brand new. Its particular brand of beauty is tender and delicate and hopeful, and it's  heart-aching. It gives way to the years and becomes something deeper, sturdier, individual because how we live those years is like the sculptor's chisel, and no two strokes of the chisel are the same.

(Another tangent.  Perhaps 2016 will be a year for tangents.)

To the me of Yore, time stretched endlessly and distantly ahead of me.  On the first day of school, summer seemed to be a lifetime away.  When I was 5 I thought I'd never turn 10, and when I was 16 I couldn't turn 18 fast enough.  These days, I'm positive that with all the monkeying about with Daylight Savings, someone has taken an hour or two away from every day, and possibly an entire day or two out of every month.  For sure and certain we've skipped at least a year since 1995 because how on earth is it possible that it is already 2016?

At this rate, by the time I wake up tomorrow morning it will be February already.

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