There’s a great rabbinical motto that says you start each day with a note in each pocket. One note says, “The world was created for you today,” and the other note says, “I’m a speck of dust in a meaningless universe.”
Some days, I feel like a speck of dust in a meaningless universe. Well, I guess I am a speck of dust in a meaningless universe. We all are. The volume of a human is 0.07 m3. The volume of the universe is 4×1080 m3. The universe is really big, and we are really small, and I try to remember that when I kvetch over my clothes not matching. Though in fairness, it is very difficult to match clothes when you are colorblind.
Our lives are meaningless, but they matter to us, and to our friends, and to our family, and I think that’s enough. The sun might explode in a few billion years, but you can’t sit in your house all day and raise your arms and yell What’s the Point? You gotta do stuff. You gotta feel stuff.
I can’t shake the feeling that time moves more quickly when we’re older. And yeah, approximately ten shmagillion people have said that before me, and many more shmagillion people will say that after me, but there has to be something to it. Summer vacations were two months but felt like an eternity. A week off from school was the best thing ever. Now I sneeze, and I cook some dinner, and suddenly it’s the fourth of July.
Maybe you notice this too, the way time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future. First it’s a few days, then a few weeks, and then the seasons and years and decades start to blend together. Then your life flashes before your eyes, and you’re dead.
Still, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks for overcoming the inevitable passage of time, which I’ve outlined in the gray blob below:
JEFF’S TIPS AND TRICKS FOR OVERCOMING THE INEVITABLE PASSAGE OF TIME
- go jogging. twenty minutes feels like twenty years. your body will hate you, then you will stop, and then your brain will release endorphins and you will feel good.
- travel the world. sit on planes. listen to safety demonstrations. deal with the tsa. wait in line at border control.
- sit in traffic.
- hang out on broken down subway cars, preferably in the Canarsie tube between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
- make friends with people who are perpetually late. agree to meet at a particular time, then wait for them, often and with gusto.
- invent a super-fast mode of transportation and travel near the speed of light. gravitational time dilation will take care of the rest.
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows – which, by the way, is the greatest name for a dictionary, I mean who would even argue? – calls this Zenosyne, the sense that time keeps going faster as you get older. And if you’re wondering: is there really a dictionary out there that categorizes our innately human sorrows into little tiny word packages, the answer is YES. And they’re great. Here are some others:
Alazia: The Fear That You’re No Longer Able to Change
Avenoir: The Desire To See Memories In Advance
Sonder: The Realization That Everyone Has A Story
Onism: The Awareness of How Little of the World You’ll Experience
Koinophobia: The Fear that You’ve Lived an Ordinary Life
So yeah, Zenosyne. We should consider the idea that what we feel as little kids, or teenagers, makes perfect sense. Your first break-up might be the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. Or maybe it’s your dog dying. Or a failed algebra test. Things will surely get better, but at that moment the bad thing has suddenly become such an important part of your story. It has warped your identity. It’s no wonder we feel so intensely when we’re young. It’s no wonder we get jaded when we’re older.
And then if you’re really lucky, you start to view the bad stuff and the failures as good things. Maybe they were stepping stones. To quote Louis CK, I’m glad for every single thing I didn’t get.
I don’t know. I’m rambling. I turn 25 today, which is great because I can finally RENT A CAR!!!! … though technically I’ve been able to rent a car for four years, but now I can rent a car WITHOUT PAYING ANY ADDITIONAL FEES. WOOOOOO.
Soon I’ll be 26, then 27, then 31, then 42, then 57, then 84, and the years will move even faster than they do now. Yes, I’ve got a long way to go. But eventually, those days will start slippin away as I drift around the bend.
Life is short. And life is long. But not in that order.