For every “now,” there is an “after”
Lost in time and space
When, oh when, will this sinking feeling feel like, “Man, that was ages ago…”?
- Taking Back Sunday
I’ve been thinking about the day I turned ten years old.
I walked into the kitchen and my older sister was there. She said to me, “Well, you’re double-digits now. You’re basically grown up.”
Grown-up, I thought. I wonder what it’ll be like to be really old. Like, thirty!
Well, now I’m thirty-three, and I think about that moment in the kitchen every year. Mainly, I think about how that moment was, at one time, right now, and the thoughts went:
Here I am, ten years old. My sister is here, and the sun is shining through the patio door window, and for the first time, I feel nervous about getting older. But my sister is older, and she seems okay with everything. She has a cool car that I call the Batmobile.
But now that moment is ages ago, and the thoughts go:
There I was, ten. Can’t remember what happened to the Batmobile, and I miss seeing my sister every day. I’m still a bit nervous about getting older.
No matter what I do, how I feel today will become how I felt, and what I know this year will become what I knew. Present tense becomes past tense too quickly.
Why you gotta, gotta be
So deep in the philosophy?
When I'm living it in the moment
I just wanna be in the moment.
- Fickle Friends
A long time ago, a philosopher named Lucretius asked a question with no good answer at the time: how big is the universe?
He devised a thought experiment. He imagined a giant wall out there in space as if we were all cocooned in a tremendous cosmic egg1, and he asked, “What happens if you throw a giant spear at the wall?” He decided there were two possibilities.
For one, the spear could bounce off the wall. That means it’s a thick wall, right? How thick? Infinitely thick? Well, wouldn’t an infinitely thick wall mean the universe goes on forever? On the other hand, if it’s not thick at all, that means there’s an “other side” with potentially infinite space beyond it.
The second option is the wall is an illusion, and the spear pierces it and goes on forever into space.
So, based on those two possibilities, Lucretius concluded that for every wall in the universe, there’s always something on the other side and the universe must be limitless.
Been talkin’ bout the way things change.
- The Head and the Heart
I’ve learned that time, without permission, will move on, and today’s thoughts and worries and struggles eventually become things remembered (or forgotten). And I’m confident that each of life’s walls, no matter how thick, has a far side.
So, if I was to offer a word of encouragement, it’s this: for every now, there’s an after.