Thursday, January 6, 2011

Catching Up with the Time Machine

Time, invaluable time, has an incredible way of outpacing speed and outdating people and events.

Suddenly the cuddlesome infant, initially dependent on another human being for material and emotional nourishment, grows into the awkward adolescent and matures into the individual who either dilly- dallies with time or perpetually races with it, cramming a 60- hour activity into a 24- hour daily existence. What is today’s current events would soon fade into the old to become ancient history to be occasionally remembered as a point of reference. The bright, shining sun of a moment ago may turn into romantic twilight or gentle rain or splashing storm, to be soon quickly forgotten after it has gone and be appreciated once more only upon its recurrence.

Time is so fleeting, mercurial at leisure, that one either rides along to achieve a sense of relevance or personal accomplishments or both or lags behind from incompatibility with speed and its attendant pressure.

Time may continuously fray already worn- out nerves, alter set goals and priorities, advance a future project into premature fruition, outgrow insecurities and broaden personal perspectives, crystallize hopes and wishes into raw realities.

How often do Mondays swiftly breeze into Fridays, when only yesterday, it seemed one was sluggishly brushing off the sleepy daze of the weekend, frenetically growing into the hectic momentum that signals the excitement of the end of yet another work week or school days?

We welcome the New Year with contagious enthusiasm, sometimes with sadness to see a good year go by or with blue- blooded optimism that the new one would usher in better prospects for success and happiness. Then the months would outrace each other and before one has completely shed off the memories of the yuletide interlude, Christmas would approach sneakily with all its good tidings and festive spirit which eventually would mean the close of another year and the birth of still another.

The conservative 50’s made way for the swinging 60’s which in turn, brought about the tumultuous 70’s. Every decade has a story, a trademark, a character, a uniqueness in the annals of history. In the nostalgic moods of the present, one looks back, gazes into the past with either relief or nonchalance, but delves deeper for reasons learned while shrugging off the memories as merely a part of the " good old days.”

As actual personal experiences would bear out, time is an all too important Master that demands outmost punctuality and has no patience to wait for latecomers, whether prince or pauper. We reached this compromise from the very start and may have either disciplined ourselves into never taking the hours of every day for granted, or forever found ourselves tardy in meeting life’s many deadlines. We may seem to be taking our own sweet time in savoring the various irresponsible pleasures that come along the way, sometimes sacrificing the more urgent expectations demanded in the name of responsibility. Then just when time seems to be running short, we impatiently squeeze the hours into minutes, the years into days, in an attempt to catch up and make up for the hapless oversight. Some may make it right on record time to the finish line fulfilled, exultant if rather breathless. But the unfortunate others may gasp from the strenuous, unrelenting pressures, nevertheless failing to reach the goal due to time constraint or sheer short- sighted performance.

The born marathoners among us may find ourselves consistently ahead of the race but in our serious involvement to satisfy the essentials to become our society’s accomplished achievers, we may have neglected the little, cheerful diversions that make world an amiable battlefield. In our scurrying rash to get there, to arrive and be counted, we may have slipped the pleasurable phases of our lives and would now have to make an abrupt about- face in order to complete the cycle. Those of us in this predicament should count our blessings for, compared to the late bloomers, we are a great leap ahead in the human endurance contest.

So life is a merciless, time- dictated jungle, a breath- taking quest for the “survival of the fittest.” Indeed, it is – and a lot more besides. It is a long, tedious process of struggling for identity, purpose and attainment. It is a perpetual perfunctory trial- and- error promenade— for in this world, WHO is perfectly precise?— geared towards the genuine esteem of that glorious moment of eureka, when man finally comes to terms of him/herself.

LIFE despite its ultimate aim for meaning revolves around the enjoyment of every minute of our waking hours, blending hard work with stolen moments of fun, so that in twilight one may proudly acknowledge that s/he has truly lived a well- balanced existence. So that when the battle is over and he/ she sits complacently to assess his/ her accomplishments, there would be no frantic cause to rush back and catch up on the seemingly insignificant, aimless motions that nonetheless contribute to the enhancement and appreciation of living. Catching up may be a dispensable whim one may forego or pursue, however, it directs one where he/ she may have done better or may have experienced the necessary deviation from the serious burden of responsibilities. If only for those reasons, catching up becomes not merely a futile, frivolous frolic, but a goal in itself. Another essential absorption to find more profound meaning.


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